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Cornell University Library 
QC 16.F21J76 1870 


The life and letters of Faraday. 

3 1924 012 319 699 

^ Cornell University 
M Library 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


VOL. I. 




ZB-grfT/ediy li Adlard. finmaPtioiograpli hy Maiill & rolyiilHJii'. 




London, .LoTL^TDarLS Sc C° 




F A E A D A Y. 




Vol. I. 




The right of tranalation is reserved. 






In consequence of suggestions in letters and in reviews, 
some changes have been made in this edition. 

Very little new matter has been added ; but some 
letters have been left out ; and other letters, and some 
of the lectures and journals have been shortened. 

Two or three errors, which came from misapprehen- 
sions in conversation, have been corrected. 

The most important mistake relates to the loaf of 
bread which Faraday had weekly when nine years old. 
I wrongly understood that it came from the temporary 
help which was given to the working class in London 
during the famine of 1801. I was too easily led into 
this error by my wish to show the height of the rise 
of Faraday by contrasting it with the lowliness of his 
starting point. I ought to have been content with the 
few words which he wrote. "My education was of 
the most ordinary description, consisting of httle more 
than the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic, 
at a common day school. My hours out of school 
were passed at home" (in the mews) " and in the 


This leaves no doubt, that Faraday rose from that 
large class which lives by the hardest muscular labour, 
and can give but little for mental food ; and yet by his 
own brain-work he became in his day the foremost of 
that small class which, by the mind alone, makes the 
glory of humanity. 

H. B. J. 

March 18th, 1870. 




To WHITE a life of Faraday seemed to me at first a 
hopeless work. Although I had listened to him as a 
lecturer for thirty years and had been with him 
frequently for upwards of twenty years, and although 
for more than fifteen years he had known me as one 
of his most intimate friends, yet my knowledge of him 
made me feel that he was too good a man for me to 
estimate rightly, and that he was too great a philo- 
sopher for me to understand thoroughly. I thought 
that his biographer should if possible be one who was 
his own mental counterpart. 

I afterwards hoped that the Journals, which he 
wrote at different periods whilst abroad, might have 
been published separately. If this had been done, 
then some portions of his biography would have been 
in his own writing : but it was thought undesirable to 
divide the records of the different parts of his life. 

As time went on, and those who were most interested 
in the work found no one with sufiicient leisure to 
whom they were inclined to give his manuscripts, I at 
last made the attempt to join together his own words. 


and to form them into a picture of his life which may 
almost be looked upon as an autobiography. 

My first work was to read his manuscripts; and 
then to collect from his friends all the letters and 
notes that were likely to be of interest. And here, in 
duty bound, I must first thank Mrs. Faraday and her 
nieces Miss Barnard and Miss Eeid for their help; 
then his earhest friend Mr. Abbott, whose collection 
of letters was priceless ; then his friends M. Augusta 
de la Eive and the late Professor Schonbein. I am 
also indebted to Madame Matteucci, Miss Moore, Miss 
Magrath, Miss Phillips, Dr. Tyndall, Dr. Percy, Col. 
Yorke, the late Eev. John Barlow, and to many others. 

From his letters, his laboratory note-books, his 
lecture-books, his Trinity House and other manu- 
scripts, I have arranged the materials for a memorial 
of Faraday in the simplest order, with the least con- 
necting matter. 

I have, however, with permission, used some of the 
admirable summaries pubHshed by Dr. Tyndall, in his 
account of ' Faraday as a Discoverer.' 

H. B. J. 

October 18ih, 1869. 




1791-1812. To JEt. 21. ^.^^^ 



1812-1813. To JEt. 22. 




1813-1815. To .ffiT. 24. 




1815-1819. To Mt. 28. 



1820-1830. "To Ml. 39. 















The village of Clapliam, in Yorkshire, lies at the foot 
of Ingleborough, close to a station of the Leeds and 
Lancaster Eailway. Here the parish register between 
1708 and 1730 shows that ' Eichard ffaraday ' recorded 
the births of ten children. He is described as of 
Keasden, stonemason and tiler, a ' separatist ; ' and he 
died in 1741. No earlier record of Faraday's family 
can be found. 

It seems not unlikely that the birth of an eleventh 
child, Eobert, in 1724, was never registered. Whether 
this Eobert was the son or nephew of Eichard cannot 
be certainly known : however, it is certain that he 
married Elizabeth Dean, the owner of Clapham Wood 

This Hall was of some beauty, and of a style said to 
be almost peculiar to the district between Lancaster, 
Kirkby Lonsdale, and Skipton. The porch had a gable- 
end and ornamented lintel with the initials of the 
builder (the proprietor) ; and the windows, with three or 
four muUions and label or string-course, had a very 
good effect. It was partly pulled down some twenty 

VOL. I. B 


years ago, and a common sort of farm-liouse built in 
its place. 

It is now little better than a stone cottage. The 
door opens directly into a kitchen, flagged with four 
large flags. What remains of the old Hall is, if 


anything, meaner than the dwelling itself. At this 
Hall Eobert and Elizabeth Faraday lived, and had ten 
children, whose names and birthdays, and callings in 
after life, so far as they are known, were these : — 


r-H O 


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I Piichard, born June 16, 1757, was an innholder, slater, grocer. 

John, born May 19, 1759, was a farmer. 

James, born May 8, 1761, was a blacksmith. 

Robert, born February 3, 176-3, was a packer in a flax mill. 

Elizabeth, born Jime 27, 1765. 

William, born April 20, 1767, died in July 1791. 

Jane, born April 27, 1769. 

Hannah, born August 16, 1771. 

Thomas, bor^ November 6, 1773, kept a shop. 
\Barnaba.'s, whose birthday is not known, was a shoemalier. 


The first insight into this large family comes in the 
year when Paraday was born, through William, who 
died when he was twenty-four years old, at Clapham 
Wood Hall. Faraday's grandmother then wrote a 
letter to Anne Fordyce, to whom her son William 


was engaged to be married. This letter shows the 
nature and strength of the religious feeling in the 
family for two generations previous to the birth of 

' Clapham Wood Hall, .July 4, 1791. 

' Dear Nancy, — With a troubled mind I write this 
to you. My dear son is dead. He died on the Sab- 
bath in the evening at seven o'clock. Now, my dear 
love, I beg you would hear me what I have to say, 
and be sober. It hath been a great concern on Wil- 
liam's mind about you : he was afraid you would feel 


to an extreme, and it troubled him very much : from 
this consideration he strove to make all things look as 
well as he could, and he had some hope within a little 
of his death that he happen might mend, which is very 
natural for all people. 

' When Wilham began to be worse, he began to be 
concerned about his everlasting welfare. He sent for 
Mr. Gorrel and confessed the faith in Christ, and gave 
Mr. Gorrel and the rest of the brethren great satisfac- 

' William was exceedingly comfortable, and rejoiced 
exceedingly. He then sent for his clothes, and he 
thought he would go to Wenning Bank, and join the 
brethren in public ; but both we and the brethren saw 
there was no chance, but they came to visit him very 
frequently. I cannot, in a little compass, tell you all 
that WiUiam said, but he rejoiced exceedingly. 

' Now, my dear love, I hope you will consider that 
Providence knows better than we, and I hope this 
account will serve in some measure to reconcile you, 
and I shall be very glad to hear from you. 

' My children all give their kind love to you. From 
your affectionate, well-wishing 

' Elizabeth Faraday.' 

The brethren were members of a Sandemanian con- 
gregation. The Glasites are said once to have had 
a chapel at Clapham, with a burial ground attached 
to it. At present the chapel is converted into a barn, 
and the windows are walled up. The unconsecrated 
burial groimd is thrown open to the fields, but one 
or two headstones still remain against the wall of the 


Several of these congregations were formed in dif- 
ferent parts of England by the writings and preaching 
of Eobert Sandeman, the son-in-law of the Eeverend 
John Glas, a Presbyterian clergyman in Scotland. 
Thus the Church in London was formed in 1760. In 
1763 the congregation at Kirkby Stephen numbered 
between twenty and thirty persons. Sandeman ulti- 
mately went to America to make his views known, and 
he died there in 1771. 

In 1728 Glas was deposed by the Presbyterian 
Church Courts, because he taught that the Church 
should be subject to no league nor covenant, but be 
governed only by the doctrines of Christ and His 
Apostles. He held that Christianity never was, nor 
could be, the established religion of any nation without 
becoming the reverse of what it was when first insti- 
tuted ; that Christ did not come to establish any worldly 
power, but to give a hope of eternal life beyond the 
grave to His people whom He should choose of His 
own sovereign will ; that the Bible, and that alone, 
with nothing added to it nor taken away from it by 
man, was the sole and sufficient guide for each indi- 
vidual, at all times and in all circumstances ; that faith 
in the divinity and work of Christ is the gift of God, 
and that the evidence of this faith is obedience to the 
commandments of Christ. 

There are two points of practice in the Church which, 
in relationship to the Life of Faraday, must be men- 
tioned. One of these is the admission into the Church, 
the other is the election of elders. 

Members are received into the Church on the con- 
fession of sin, and the profession of faith in the death 
and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This profession must 


be made before the Churcli in public. The elders first, 
and afterwards the other members, ask such questions 
as they think are necessary to satisfy the Church. 
Prayer is then offered up, a blessing is invoked upon 
the person received, and he is heartily welcomed and 
loved for the sake of the truth he has professed. 

There must be a plurality of elders (presbyters or 
bishops) in each Church, and two must be present at 
every act of discipline. When a vacancy occurs, the 
elders suggest for election to the congregation one of 
its members who appears to answer the description of 
an elder in the New Testament. The election is made 
by the whole Church unanimously. Earnestness of 
feeling and sincerity of conviction are the sole requisites 
for the office, which is entirely unpaid. 

With regard to other members of the large family 
that were born at Clapham Wood Hall, it is known 
that Faraday's uncle John had a quarry among the 
hills, and erected a shielding for the use of the men? 
which in some maps is marked as Faraday House, and 
the gill which runs by it, in the map of the Ordnance 
Survey of Westmoreland, is called Faraday Gill. His 
uncle Thomas was the father of Thomas Armat Faraday, 
who is now a draper and grocer at Clapham. His 
father James, who was a blacksmith, was married in 
1786 to Margaret Hastwell, a farmer's daughter of Mal- 
lestang, near Kirkby Stephen. To James and Margaret 
Faraday four children were born : — ' 

James; born 1761, died 1810, r Elizabeth, born 1787. 

married 1786 Margaret J Robert, born 1788. 

Hastwell, born 1764, died 1 Michael, born 1791. 

1838. L Margaret, born 1802. 

James soon after his marriage came to London, and 


lived at Newington, in Surrey, wliere his third cliild, 1791. 
Michael, was born on September 22, 1791. Eor a Sept. 22. 
short time his home was in Gilbert Street ; but about 
1796 he moved to rooms over a coach-house in Jacob's 
Well Mews, Charles Street, Manchester Square : he 


then worked as a journeyman at Boyd's in Welbeck- 
Street. He joined the Sandemanian Church after he 
came to London. His wife, though one of the congrega- 
tion, never became a member of the Church. 

During the distress of 1801, when corn- was above 


1801. 9^. the quarter, Michael, who was nine years old, was 
^T. 9-10. given by his parents one loaf weekly, and it had to last 
him for that time. 

In 1807 James wrote to his brother Thomas at 
Clapham — 'I am sorry to say I have not had the 
pleasure of enjoying one day's health for a long time. 
Although I am very seldom off work for a whole day 
together, yet I am under the necessity (through pain) 
of being from work part of almost every day.' . . . 
And then, after speaking of some Church matters, he 
says — ' But we, perhaps, ought to leave these matters 
to the overruling hand of Him who has a sovereign 
right to do what seemeth good to Him, both in the 
armies of heaven and amongst the inhabitants of the 

On July 29, 1809, he wrote to the same brother — 
' I never expect to be clear of the pain completely with 
which I am afflicted, yet I am glad to say that I am 
somewhat better than I formerly was. . . . 

' We are about to remove very shortly, so that you 
will be good enough to direct your next as follows — 
18 Weymouth Street, near Portland Place, London.' 

There he died on October 30, 1810. 

Faraday's mother died in Islington, in March 1838. 
' She was very proud of her son ; so much so, that 
Faraday asked his wife not to talk to his mother so 
much about him or his honours, saying she was quite 
proud enough of him, and it would not be good for 
her. Usually she called liim " my Michael." She 
would do nothing whatever without his advice, and 
was quite contented and happy in being supported 
wholly by him in her declining years. She had not 
had any advantages of education, nor was she able to 



enter at all into her son's pursuits. She was parti- 1803. 
cularly neat and nice in her household arrangements, iET.11-12. 
and exerted herself to the utmost for her husband and 

The home of Michael Faraday was in Jacob's Well 
Mews from the time he was five years old until he 
went to Blandford Street. Very little is known of his 
life during these eight years. He himself has pointed 
out where he played at marbles in Spanish Place, and 


where, at a later period, he took care of his little sister 
in Manchester Square. He says, ' My education was of 
the most ordinary description, consisting of httle more 
than the rudiments of reading, writing, and arithmetic 
at a common day-school. My hours out of school 
were passed at home and in the streets.' 



^J^804. Only a few yards from Jacob's Well Mews is a book- 
iET.12-13. seller's shoj:), at No. 2 Blandford Street. 

There Faraday went as errand boy, on trial for a 
year, to Mr. George Eiebau, in 1804. He has spoken 
with much feeling ' that it was his duty, when he first 
went, to carry round the papers that were lent out by 
his master. Often on a Sunday morning he got up 
very early and took them round, and then he had to 
call for them again ; and frequently, when he was told 
the paper was not done with, " You must call again," 
he would beg to be allowed to have it ; for his next 
place might be a mile off, and then he would have to 
return back over the. ground again, losing much time, 
and being very unhappy if he was unable to get home 
to make himself neat, and to go with his parents to 
their place of worship.' 

He says, ' I remember being charged with being a 
great questioner when young, but I do not know the 
nature of the questions.' One instance, however, has 
been preserved. Having called at a house, possibly to 
leave a newspaper, whilst waiting for the door to be 
opened, he put his head through the iron bars that 
made a separation from the adjoining house; and, 
whilst in this position, he questioned himself as to 
which side he was on. The door behind him being 
opened, he suddenly drew back, and, hitting himself 
so as to make his nose bleed, he forgot all about his 

In after life the remembrance of his earliest occupa- 
tion was often brought to his mind. One of his nieces 
says that he rarely saw a newspaper boy without 
making some kind remark about him. Another niece 
recalls his words on one occasion, 'I always feel a 


tenderness for those boys, because I once carried new£- 1809. 
papers myself.' iET.i7-i8. 

Faraday's indentures as an apprentice are dated 
October 7, 1805 : one line in them is worthy to be 
kept — ' In consideration of his faithful service no pre- 
mium is given.' 

Four years later his father wrote (in 1809), ' Michael 
is bookbinder and stationer, and is very active at 
learning his business. He has been most part of four 
years of his time out of seven. He has a very good 
master and mistress, and likes his place well. He had 
a hard time for some while at first going ; but, as the 
old saying goes, he has rather got the head above water, 
as there is two other boys under him.' 

Faraday himself says, ' Whilst an apprentice I loved 
to read the scientific books which were under my 
hands, and, amongst them, delighted in Marcet's 
" Conversations in Chemistry," and the electrical trea- 
tises in the " Encyclopasdia Britannica." I made such 
simple experiments in chemistry as could be defrayed 
in their expense by a few pence per week, and also 
constructed an electrical machine, first with a glass 
phial, and afterwards with a real cylinder, as well as 
other electrical apparatus of a corresponding kind.' 
He told a friend that Watts ' On the Mind ' first made 
him think, and that his attention was turned to science 
by the article ' Electricity ' in an encyclopaedia he was 
employed to bind. 

' My master,' he says, ' allowed me to go occasionally 
of an evening to hear the lectures dehvered by Mr. 
Tatum on natural philosophy at his house, 53 Dorset 
Street, Fleet Street. I obtained a knowledge of these 


1810. lectures by bills in the streets and shop-windows near 
J5T.18-19. his house. The hour was eight o'clock in the evening. 
The charge was one shilling per lecture, and my brother 
Eobert (who was three years older and followed his 
father's business) made me a present of the money for 
several. I attended twelve or thirteen lectures between 
February 19, 1810, and September 26, 1811. It was 
at these lectures I first became acquainted with Magrath, 
Newton, Nicol, and others.' 

He learned perspective of Mr. Masquerier,^ that he 
might illustrate these lectures. ' Masquerier lent me 
Taylor's " Perspective," a 4to volume, which I studied 
closely, copied all the drawings, and made some other 
very simple ones, as of cubes or pyramids, or columns 
in perspective, as exercises of the rules. I was always 
very fond of copying vignettes and small things in ink ; 
but I fear they were mere copies of the hnes, and that 
I had little or no sense of the general effect and of the 
power of the lines in producing it.' 

In his earhest note-book he wrote down the names 
of the books and subjects that interested him : this he 
called ' " The Philosophical Miscellany," being a col- 
. lection of notices, occurrences, events, &c., relating 
to the arts and sciences, collected from the pubhc 
papers, reviews, magazines, and other miscellaneous 
works ; intended,' he says, ' to promote both amuse- 
ment and instruction, and also to corroborate or in- 
vahdate those theories which are continually starting 

' Mr. Masquerier was probably a lodger in Mr. Eiebau's house. In 
Crabb Robinson's Memoirs (vol. iii. p, 376, dated Feb. 18, 18-51; 
it is written, ' At Masquerier's, Brighton. We had calls soon after break- 
fast. The one to be mentioned was that of Faraday. When he was 
young, poor, and altogether unknown, Masquerier was kind to him; 
and now that he is a great man he does not forget his old friend.' 


into the world of science. Collected by M. Faraday, 

Among the books and subjects which are mentioned 
in this volume are, ' Description of a Pyropneumatic 
Apparatus,' and ' Experiments on the Ocular Spectra 
of Light and Colours,' by Dr. Da.Twm, from Ackermmi's 
Repository ; ' Lightning,' and ' Electric Eish and 
Electricity,' from Gentleman's Magazine; 'Meteorolites,' 
from the Evangelical Magazine ; ' Water Spouts,' 
from the Zoological Magazine ; ' Formation of Snow,' 
from Sturm s Beflections ; ' To loosen Glass Stopples,' 
from the Lady's Magazine ; ' To convert two Liquids 
into a Solid,' ' Oxygen Gas,' ' Hydrogen Gas,' ' Mtric 
and Carbonic Acid Gas,' ' Oxymuriate of Potash,' from 
Conversations in Chemistry. 

' Galvanism : ' ' Mr. Davy has announced to the Eoyal 
Society a great discovery in chemistry — the fixed 
alkahes have been decomposed by the galvanic bat- 
tery,' from Chemical Observer ; ' Galvanism and a 
Description of a Galvanometer,' from the Literary 

Through Mr. Tatum, Faraday made, the acquaintance 
of Mr. Huxtable, who was then a medical student, and 
of Mr. Benjamin Abbott, who was a confidential clerk 
in the city, and belonged to the Society of Friends. 
Mr. Huxtable lent him the third edition of ' Thomson's 
Chemistry,' and ' Parkes's Chemistry :' this Faraday 
bound for his friend. The earliest note of Faraday's 
that is known to exist was written this year to Mr. 
Huxtable. It shows a little of the fun and much of the 
gentleness of his writing at this time : — 

' Dear Sir, — Tit for tat, says the proverb ; and it is 


1812^ my earnest wish to make tliat proverb good in two in- 
^1.20-21. stances. First, you favoured me with a note a short 
time since, and I liereby return the comphment ; and, 
secondly, I shall call " tit " upon you next Sunday, and 
hope that you will come and tea " tat " with me the 
Sunday after. In short, the object of this note is to ob- 
tain your company, if agreeable to your convenience 
and health (which I hope is perfectly recovered long 
before this), the Sunday after next. 

'This early application is made to prevent prior 
claims ; and I propose to call upon you this day week 
to arrange what little circumstances may require it. 

' In hope that your health is as well as ever, and 
that all other circumstances are agreeable, I subjoin 
myself. Sir, yours, 

' M. Faraday.' 

The following are among the few notes which 
Faraday made of his own life : — 

' During my apprenticeship I had the good fortune, 
through the kindness of Mr. Dance, who Avas a customer 
of my master's shop and also a member of the Eoyal 
Institution, to hear four of the last lectures of Sir H. 
Davy in that locality.^ The dates of these lectures were 
February 29, March 14, April 8 and 10, 1812. Of 
these I made notes, and then wrote out the lectures in 
a fuller form, interspersing them with such drawings as 
I could make. The desire to be engaged in scientific 
occupation, even though of the lowest kind, induced 
me, whilst an apprentice, to write, in my ignorance of 
the world and simplicity of my mind, to Sir Josepli 

' He alwa3's sat in the gallery over the clock. 


Banks, then President of the Eoyal Society. Naturally 1812. 
enough, " no answer " was the reply left with the jEt.2o-2i 

On Sunday, July 12, 1812, three months before his 
apprenticeship ended, he began to write to Benjamin 
Abbott, who was a year and a half yomiger than liis 
friend ; but Abbott had been at good schools and was 
well educated, and hence Faraday regarded him as tlie 
possessor of a knowledge far beyond his own. Through- 
out all Ms correspondence this deference to his friend's 
superior school knowledge is always to be seen. These 
letters Mr. Abbott has most fortunately kept, thinking 
that at some future time they would be invaluable 
records of his friend's youth. They show his thoughts 
when he was ' giving up trade and taking to science,' 
during the period when the greatest change in the 
course of his life took place. The first eight were 
written between July 12 and October 1 in this year, 
whilst he was still an apprentice in Blandford Street. 

They possess an interest almost beyond any other 
letters which Faraday afterwards wrote. It is difficult 
to believe that they were written by one who had been 
a newspaper boy and who was still a bookbinder's 
apprentice, not yet twenty-one years of age, and whose 
only education had been the I'udiments of reading, 
writing, and arithmetic. 

Had they been written by a highly educated gentle- 
man, they would have been remarkable for the energy, 
correctness, and fluency of their style, and for the 
courtesy, kindness, candour, deference, and even hu- 
mility, of the thoughts they contain. 


FAEADAY's FIKST letter to benjamin ABBOTT. 

' Dear A , Ceremony is useless in many cases, and 

sometimes impertinent ; now between you and me it 
may not be the last, yet I conceive it is the first : there- 
fore I have banished it at this time. But first let me 
wish you well, and then I will proceed on to the subject 
of this letter. Make my respects, too, if you please, to 
Mr. and Mrs. A., and also to your brother and sister. 

' I was lately engaged in conversation with a gentle- 
man who appeared to have a very extensive corre- 
spondence : for within the space of half an hour he 
drew observations from two letters that he had received 
not a fortnight before — one was from Sicily and the 
other from France. After a while I adverted to his 
correspondence, and observed that it must be very 
interesting and a source of great pleasure to himself. 
He immediately affirmed, with great enthusiasm, that it 
was one of the purest enjoyments of his life (observe, 
he, like you and your humble servant, is a bachelor). 
Much more passed on the subject, but I will not waste 
your time in recapitulating it. However, let me notice, 
before I cease from praising and recommending episto- 
lary correspondence, that the great Dr. Isaac Watts 
(great in all the methods respecting the attainment of 
learning) recommends it as a very effectual method of 
improving the mind of the person who writes and the 
person who receives. Not to forget, too, another strong 
instance in favour of the practice, I will merely call to 
your mind the correspondence that passed between 
Lord Chesterfield and his son. In general, I do not 
approve of the moral tendency of Lord Chesterfield's 
letters, but I heartily agree with him respecting the 
utility of a written correspondence. It, like many other 


good things, can be made to suffer an abuse, but that is 1812. 
no effectual argument against its good effects. JEt. 20-1. 

' On looking back, I find, dear A., that I have filled 
two pages with very uninteresting matter, and was in- 
tending to go on with more, had I not suddenly been 
stopped by the lower edge of the paper. This circum- 
stance (happily for you, for I should have put you to 
sleep else) has " called back my wand'ring thoughts ; " 
and I will now give you what I at first intended this 
letter should be wholly composed of — philosophical 
information and ideas. 

' I have lately made a few simple galvanic experi- 
ments, merely to illustrate to myself the first principles 
of the science. I was going to Knight's to obtain some 
nickel, and bethought me that they had malleable zinc. 
I inquired and bought some — have you seen any yet ? 
The first portion I obtained was in the thinnest pieces 
possible — observe, in a flattened state. It was, they 
informed me, thin enough for the electric stick, or, as 
I before called it, De Luc's electric column. I ob- 
tained it for the purpose of forming discs, with which 
and copper to make a little battery. The first I 
completed contained the immense number of seven 
pairs of plates ! ! ! and of the immense size of halfpence 
each ! ! ! ! ! ! 

' I, Sir, I my own self, cut out seven discs of the size 
of halfpennies each ! I, Sir, covered them Avith seven 
halfpence, and I interposed between, seven, or rather 
six, pieces of paper soaked in a solution of muriate 
of soda ! ! ! But laugh no longer, dear A. ; rather 
wonder at the effects this trivial power produced. It 
was sufficient to produce the decomposition of sulphate 

VOL. I. 


of magnesia — an effect which extremely surprised me ; 
for I did not, could not, have any idea that the agent 
was competent to the purpose. A thought here struck 
me ; I will tell you. I made the communication be- 
tween the top and bottom of the pile and the solution 
with copper wire. Do you conceive that it was the 
copper that decomposed the earthy sulphate — that 
part, I mean, immersed in the solution ? That a gal- 
vanic effect took place I am sure; for both wires 
became covered in a short time with bubbles of 
some gas, and a continued stream of very minute 
bubbles, appearing like small particles, ran through 
the solution from the negative wire. My proof that 
the sulphate was decomposed was, that in about two 
hours the clear solution became turbid : magnesia was 
suspended in it. 

' Seeing the great effect of this small power, I pro- 
cured from Knight some plate zinc, or sheet zinc I 
think they call it, about the thickness of pasteboard ; 
from this I cut out discs, and also obtained some sheet 
copper, and procured discs of that metal. The discs 
were about 1|- inch in diameter. These I piled up as 
a battery, interposing a solution of the muriate of soda 
by means of flannel discs of the same size. As yet I 
have only made one trial, and at that time had, I be- 
lieve, about eighteen or twenty pairs of plates. With 
this power I have decomposed the sulphate of mag- 
nesia, the sulphate of copper, the acetate of lead, and I 
at first thought also water, but my conclusions in that 
respect were perhaps too hastily made. 

' I inserted the wires into a portion of water that I 
took out of the cistern, and of course, in a short time, 
strong action commenced. A dense — I may really say 


dense — white cloud of matter descended from the 1812. 
positive wire, and bubbles rose rapidly and in quick ^rT2o^. 
succession from the negative wire ; but after a time I 
perceived that the action slackened : the white cloud 
was scarcely perceptible at the wire, though by the 
former action the lower part of the solution was per- 
fectly opaque and the bubbles nearly ceased. I thought 
that the action of the battery was exhausted ; but in 
philosophy we do not admit suppositions ; and there- 
fore, to prove whether the battery was inert, or whether 
any principle in the water was exhausted, I substituted 
a fresh portion of water for that which had been gal- 
vanised. Then the action commenced again, and went 
on as at first. The white precipitate again appeared, 
and bubbles rose as before ; but after a while it ceased, 
as in the first instance. 

' I make no affirmative conclusion from these pheno- 
mena, but this I presume, that the water was not de- 
composed. Our water comes through iron pipes, and 
is retained in a leaden cistern. I have also ascertained 
that it holds a small portion of muriatic acid, and have 
no doubt that it contains carbonic acid. Now, do 
you think that any part of the lead or iron (the lead I 
shoi;ld rather fancy) is held in solution by the muriatic 
or carbonic acid, and that the bubbles are formed by 
the precipitation of the metal, whilst the acid — what a 
blunder ! I mean that the bubbles are formed by the 
escape of the acid and the precipitate — is the metallic 
oxide ? Explain this circumstance to me — will you ? — 
either by your pen or your tongue. Another pheno- 
menon I observed was this : on separating the discs 
from each other, I found that some of the zinc discs 
had got a coating — a very superficial one in some 


parts — of metallic copper, and that some of tlie copper 
discs had a coating of oxide of zinc. In this case 
the metals must both have passed through the flannel 
disc holding the solution of muriate of soda, and they 
must have passed by each other. I think this circum- 
stance well worth notice, for, remember, no effect takes 
place without a cause. The deposition, too, of the 
oxide of zinc in the flannel was curious, and will tend 
to illustrate the passage of the metals from one side to 
the other. I cannot describe it with any effect, you 
must see it ; but think of these things, and let me, 
if you please, Sir, if you please, let me know your 

'And now, dear Sir, to conclude in a manner requisite 
for the occasion. I heartily beg pardon for thus in- 
truding on your time, your patience, and your good 
sense. I beseech you, if you will condescend so far, 
to return me an answer on this occasion, and pray let 
the refusal of your correspondence be as gentle as 
possible. Hoping, dear A., that the liberty I have 
taken will not injure me in your good opinion, I cannot 
conclude better than by wishing you all the happiness 
you can enjoy, the completion of all your good and 
honest wishes, and full health until I communicate 
with you again, and for ever after. 

' I am, dear A., yours sincerely, 

' M. Faeaday.' 

'Monday morning, .Tnly 13. 

'Dear A , I am just now involved in a fit of 

vexation. I have an excellent prospect before me, 
and cannot take it up for want of ability : had I 
perhaps known as much of mechanics, mathematics. 


mensuration, and drawing, as I do perhaps of some 1812. 
other sciences — that is to say, had I happened to employ ^et. 20-1'. 
my mind with these instead of other sciences-^I could 
have obtained a place — an easy place, too, and that 
in London — at 5, 6, 7, 800?. per annum. Alas ! alas ! 
Inability. I must ask your advice on the subject, and 
intend, if I can, to see you next Sunday. 
' I am, dear A., yours sincerely, 

' M. Faeaday. 

' One necessary branch of knowledge would be that 
of the steam-engine, and, indeed, anything where iron 
is concerned. Paper out, pen worn down, so good-day 
to you.' 

The second letter to Abbott is dated July 20, 1812, 
Monday evening, ten o'clock. 

To an honest man, close buttoned to the chin, 
Broad cloth without, and a warm heart within. 

' Here I am, Sir, on the third page of my paper, 
and have not yet begun to answer your very kind, 
free, friendly, instructive, amusing, and very welcome 
letter ; but now I wiU turn to it and " say my say." 
For the first part I thank you ; and here note that I 
shall keep you to the following words, " But will not 
fail to give them a thorough investigation." I like 
your logic well. Philosophical accounts, scientific 
inquiries, humble trials. Ha, ha, ha, hah ! Don't you 
charge me with ceremony yet, or whilst your style 
runs thus. 

' I am exceedingly obliged to you for the observa- 
tion and quotation you have given me respecting 
Cupid and galvanism, and return my most grateful 
thanks to you for the remedy you have pointed out 


to me against the attacks of the little god — demon, 
by Le Sage's pardon. You, no doubt, are aware that 
this is not the first time that he has been conquered 
by philosophy and science. The last-named person 
informs us very minutely in what manner he was shut 
up in a glass bottle, and rendered incapable of doing 
mischief. Oh that I were as wise as that Sage, that I 
could shut little cupids in glass bottles ! What exquisite 
presents they would be to the ladies ! and how irresistible 
Avould the fair sex be to aU who knew not how to oppose 
them thus unarmed, though I must confess they are 
not quite so absolute since the discovery of this anti- 
amorous remedy, galvanism. You will not have for- 
gotten, too, when we set the nitrous oxide in opposition 
to him ; and since galvanism now aids the gas, it is 
not possible for the httle urchin to keep his ground. 
Farewell to him. I am now going to set my piles 
in action, in which state I shall leave them all night ; 
and in the morning I wiU note down what phenomena 
I shall perceive Alas! alas! the salt- 
box is empty, and as it is too late to procure a 
fresh quantity, I shall wish you aU health and happi- 
ness, and wish you a good-night.' 

' Tuesday morning, half- past six o'dock, 
and a fine morning. 

'Good-day to you. Sir. I now intend to proceed 
on with my letter from the point where I left off; 
not exactly though, for as yet I have no salt, and I 
do not hke to substitute any other solution or any 
acid, because I suspect both the acid and the alkali 
bear a part in the transmission of the metals. I am 
exceedingly obhged to you for your ideas on tliis sub- 


ject, and I think I need not say I received it with 1812. 
good-will. I never yet, dear A., received anything jjt. 20-1. 
from you but what I met with that feehng ; and for 
the rest of the sentence, had I thought that your mind 
was so narrow as to be chagrined at seeing a better 
solution of this phenomenon from another person, I 
certainly should never have commenced this correspon- 
dence with you. 

' I was this morning called by a trifling circumstance 
to notice the peculiar motions of camphor on water : 
I should not have mentioned the simple circumstance 
but that I thought the effect was owing to electricity, 
and I supposed that if you were acquainted with the 
phenomenon, you would notice it. I conceive, too, 
that a science may be illustrated by those minute 
actions and effects, almost as much as by more evident 
and obvious phenomena. Pacts are plentiful enough, 
but we know not how to class them ; many are over- 
looked because they seem uninteresting : but remember 
that what led Newton to pursue and discover the law 
of gravity, and ultimately the laws by which worlds 
revolve, was — the fall of an apple. 

' My knife is so bad that I cannot mend my pen with 
it ; it is now covered with copper, having been em- 
ployed to precipitate that metal from the muriatic 
acid. This is an excuse — accept it. 

' Tuesday eyening, eleven o'clock. 

' I have just finished putting the battery, as you term 
it, in action, and shall now let it remain for the night, 
acting on a solution of the muriate of ammonia. This 
is the disposition made : fifteen plates of zinc and as 
many of copper are piled up with discs of flannel inter- 


ISI?. posed ; fifteen other plates of each metal are formed 
^1x^20^1. into a pile with pasteboard, both it and the flannel 
being soaked in a solution of common salt. These two 
piles are connected together, and their combined action 
employed as I before stated. The flash from it, when 
apphed to the gums or eyes, is very vivid, and the 
action on the tongue, when in contact with the edges, 
will not allow it to remain there. 

' With respect to your second solution of the passage 
of the metals, I have not time at present to think of it, 
nor have I room to say more than that I thank you. 
for all on that subject ; wait till I have heard of your 
experiments. Good-night. 

' Wednesday morning, six o'clock. 

' I can now only state facts, opinions you shall have 
next time. On looking at the pile this morning, I 
found that the muriate of ammonia had been decom- 
posed, the alkali separated at the negative wire and 
escaped ; this was e^^Jdent last night by the cloud it 
formed with muriatic acid. The acid acted on the 
copper wire, and a muriate of copper was formed ; tliis 
was again decomposed ; and now I find the negative 
wire covered with a vegetation of copper, and the 
positive wire eaten away very considerably. The solu- 
tion is of a fine blue colour, owing to the ammoniate of 
copper. On turning to the piles, I found the action of 
one considerable, the other was exhausted : the first 
contained the flannel discs, and they were yet very 
moist ; the other had the paper discs, and they were 
quite dry : of course you know why the action ceased ? 
On looking to the state of the plates particularly, I 
found but one in the pile containing flannel that was 
in the state I before noticed, that is, it being zinc and 


possessing a coating of copper. In the paper pile not 
a single zinc plate was affected that way ; the copper 
plates in both piles were covered very considerably 
Avith the oxide of zinc. I am aware with you that 
zinc precipitates copper, and that the metals are oxided, 
before solution, in acid : but how does that effect their 
motion from one disc to another in contrary directions ? 
I must trust to your experiments more than my own. 
I have no time, and the subject requires several. 

' M. Faraday.' 

His third letter to his friend Abbott is dated August 
11, 1812. 

' I thank you for your electrical experiment, but 
conceive the subject requires a very numerous series 
and of very various kind. I intend to repeat it, for I 
am not exactly satisfied of the division of the charge 
so as to produce more than one perforation. I should 
be glad if you would add to your description any con- 
clusion which you by them are induced to make. 
They would tend to give me a fairer idea of the cir- 

' I have to notice here a very singular circumstance — 
namely, a slight dissent of my ideas from you. It is 
this. You propose not to start one query until the other 
is resolved, or at least " discussed and experimented 
upon ; " but this I shall hardly allow, for the following 
reasons. Ideas and thoughts often spring up in my 
mind, and are again irrevocably lost for want of noting 
at the time. I fancy it is the same with you, and 
would therefore wish to have any such objections or 
unsolved points exactly as they appear to you in their 


1812 full force— that is, immediately after you have first 
"^ir^M^i. thought of them ; for to delay until the subject in hand 
is exhausted would be to lose all the intervening ideas. 
Understand, too, that I preserve your communications 
as a repository into which I can dip for a subject 
requiring explanation, and therefore the more you insert 
the more will it deserve that name ; nevertheless, I do 
not mean to desert one subject for another directly 
it is started, but reserve it as an after subject of con- 

' Sir H. Davy's book is, I understand, already pub- 
lished, but I have not yet seen it, nor do I know the 
price or size. It is entitled " Elements of Chemical 

' Definitions, dear A., are valuable things ; I like 
them very much, and will be glad, when you meet with 
clever ones, if you will transcribe them. I am exceed- 
ingly well pleased with Dr. Thomson's definition of 
Chemistry ; he calls it the science of insensible motions : 
" Chemistry is that science which treats of those events 
or changes in natural bodies which consist of insensible 
motions," in contradistinction to mechanics, which treats 
of sensible motions. 

' How do you define idleness ? 

' I forgot to insert a query when at the proper place, 
though I think an investigation of it would be of im- 
portance to the science of chemistry, and perhaps 
electricity. Several of the metals, when rubbed, emit a 
peculiar smell, and more particularly tin. Now, smells 
are generally supposed to be caused by particles of the 
body that are given off. If so, then it introduces to 


our notice a very volatile property of those metals. 1812.^ 
But I suspect their electric states are concerned ; and ^t. 20-1, 
then "we have an operation of that fluid that has seldom 
been noticed, and yet requires accounting for before the 
science can be completed. 

' Health, happiness, and prosperity be with you ; and 
believe me continually yours very sincerely, 

' M. Fakadat.' 

His fourth letter to Abbott is dated August 19, 1812. 

' Dear A , .... This letter will be a dull one, 

for I have but few subjects, and the heat of the Aveather 
has so enervated me that I am not able to treat those I 
have in a proper manner. But rouse up, Michael, and 
do not disgrace thyself in the opinion of thy friend. 

' I have again gone over your letter, but am so 
blinded that I cannot see any subject except chlorhie to 
write on ; but before entering on what I intend shall fill 
up the letter, I will ask your pardon for having main- 
tained an opinion against one who was so ready to give 
his own up. I suspect from that circumstance I am 
wrong .... With respect to chlorine, if we intend to 
debate the question of its simple or compound nature, 
we have begun at a wrong point, or rather at no point 
at all. Conscious of this, I will at this time answer 
your present objections but briefly, and then give the best 
statement I can of the subject. The muriate of soda 
is a compound of chlorine and sodium, and as chlorine 
in the theory is esteemed a simple substance, I conceive 
that the name of chlorate of sodium is improper ; ate 
and ite are the terminations of the generic name of salts, 
and convey to our minds an idea of the acid that the 
base is combined with. But chlorine is not an acid ; it 


1812. is a simple substance belonging to the same class as 
d:T.20-i. oxygen, and therefore its binary compounds should, I 
conceive, be termed, in imitation of oxides, chlorides. 
The muriate of soda is, therefore, a chloxide of sodium, 
and the oxymuriate of soda is a compound of that 
chloride with oxygen. 

' I wiU. not say more at present on your objections, 
since you will now be able to answer them yourself in 
the same way that I should do ; but I will proceed to 
the more simple and elementary parts of the subject. 
In the present case I conceive that experiments may be 
divided into three classes ; 1st, those which are for the 
old theory of oxymuriatic acid, and consequently oppose 
the new one ; 2nd, those which are for the new one, and 
opp ose the old theory ; and 3rd, those which can be 
explained by both theories — apparently so only, for in 
reality a false theory can never explain a fact. I am 
not aware of any belonging to the first class ; what 
appeared to be such at first have on consideration 
resolved themselves into the third class ; of the second 
class I will propose a few to you ; and of the third class 
is that we have already been engaged upon. 

' Be not surprised, my dear A., at the ardour with 
which I have embraced the new theory. I have seen 
Davy himself support it. I have seen him exhibit ex- 
periments, conclusive experiments, explanatory of it, 
and I have heard him apply those experiments to the 
theory, and explain and enforce them in (to me) an 
irresistible manner. Conviction, sir, struck me, and I 
was forced to beheve him ; and with that belief came 
admiration (then follow experiments). 

' I have not time, dear B., at present to close my 


letter in a proper manner. I shall be at Eanelagli 1812^ 
■;o-morrow evening (if fate permits) ; and if we do not JEt. 20-1. 
meet before, will take my station exactly at nine under 
the orchestra. Yours truly, 

' M. Faraday.' 

His fifth letter to Abbott was written September 9, 

' You wrong me, dear A., if you suppose I think 
you obstinate for not coinciding in my opinion im- 
mediately; on the contrary, I conceive it to be but 
proper retention. I should be sorry indeed were you 
to give up your opinion without being convinced of 
error in it, and should consider it as a mark of fickle- 
ness in you that I did not expect. It is not for me 
to affirm that I am right and you wrong ; speaking 
impartially, I can as well say that I am wrong and you 
right, or that we both are wrong, and a third right. 
I am not so self-opinionated as to suppose that my 
judgment and perception in this or other matters is 
better or clearer than that of other persons ; nor do 
I mean to affirm that this is the true theory in reality, 
but only that my judgment conceives it to be so. 
Judgments sometimes oppose each other, as in this 
case ; and as there cannot be two opposing facts in 
nature, so there cannot be two opposing truths in the 
intellectual world ; consequently, when judgments op- 
pose one must be wrong — one must be false, and mine 
may be so for aught I can tell. I am not of a superior 
nature to estimate exactly the strength and correctness 
of my own and other men's understanding, and will 
assure you, dear A., that I am far from being con- 
vinced that my own is always right. I have given 


]812. you the theory — not as the true one, but as the one 
^T.20-1. which appeared true to me — and when I perceive 
errors in it, I will immediately renounce it in part or 
wholly as my judgment may direct. From this, dear 
friend, you will see that I am very open to conviction ; 
but from the manner in which I shall answer your 
letter, you will also perceive that I must be convinced 
before I renounce. 

' You have made a blunder in your letter, A. You 
say that you will first answer my experiments, and 
then relate others ; but you have only noticed one of 
mine, and therefore I suppose the answers to the others 
axe to come. " With respect to the taper," do you 
mean to say that none of its carbon is burnt in atmo- 
spheric air or oxygen gas ? I understood Davy that 
none of it was burnt in chlorine gas ; and as for your 
query of water being formed, I do not believe there 
was any — not the shghtest condensation took place. I 
did not insist much on this experiment by itself, but 
had connected it to another where charcoal would not 
burn. You should have answered them both together. 

' Wednesday niglit, 10.30 p.m. 


' You wish to alter the tenor of our arguments ; you 
conceive that if you prove oxygen to exist in muriatic 
acid you have done enough. Not so ; if you do that 
you will do wonders, and I shall certainly pay that 
respect to it it deserves ; but the experiments I have 
related must also be answered before I change opinions 
I understand. It is possible to support a new theory 
of chlorine — namely, that it is a compoimd of an un- 
known base and oxygen, but which has never yet 
been detected separate; but this will not alter our 


arguments, since still muriatic acid is considered as the 1812- 
chlorine and hydrogen united, and whilst this chlorine ^kt. 20-1. 
is undecomposed we must consider it as simple. I was 
considerably surprised to hear you last night charge 
me with having denied facts. I am not aware that I 
have denied any ; nor do I wish to do so. I have 
denied some which have been accounted facts, but 
those cannot be what you alluded to. Pray point them 
out to me. 

' I shall now answer all your conclusive experiments, 
and must confess I do not see that difficulty I expected. 
Do you remember the first experiment you quoted, the 
solution of a metal in muriatic acid, in which experi- 
ment you consider the metal as being oxidised at the 
expense of the acid ? By this means you have arrived 
at a discovery Avhich has drawn the attention of all 
great chemists — the decomposition of the muriatic acid^ 
for by informing us what remains by the deoxidation of 
the acids by the metal, we shall have its other con- 
stituent part ; and thus our dispute — no, not dispute, 
friendly controversy — will end. 

' I fear, dear A., you will find it hard to decom- 
pose muriatic acid by the solution of a metal in it. It 
has never knowingly been done by any of Lavoisier's 
disciples yet ; or, at least, they have never allowed it. 
It has been done, and I have before related the experi- 
ment to you. But, to return to your experiment. When 
a metal is dissolved in muriatic acid, I believe it is 
generally the case that hydrogen is evolved. From 
whence is the hydrogen but from decomposed water ? 
and in what manner is the oxygen employed but by 
combining with the metal ? — the oxide is then dissolved. 
As very prominent instances of this kind I will notice 


1812. the action of muriatic acid on iron and zinc. Other 

'mt. 2o-i' metals are dissolved by this acid, but I have never 

noticed the phenomena attendant. If you say the 

metal obtains oxygen from the acid, inform me what 

part of the acid is left, and in what state. 

' Secondly, oxygen, I know, may be obtained from 
the oxymuriates, because they contain it. They are 
formed by double combination : first a muriate is formed, 
being a compound of chlorine, and the metaUic base of 
the alkalies, and with this compound oxygen combines. 
By applying heat, the only operation that takes place is 
the driving off of oxygen — but more of this when I 
have detailed further to you Davy's theory, thougli 
you must perceive the experiments are as easily ex- 
plained thus as by Lavoisier's opinion. 

' Thirdly, you can refer, I presume, to J. DavyV 
experiment, and therefore I shall give here only my 
opinion on it, whether mechanical or chemical. If the 
oxide is held mechanically in the ferrane, as he sup- 
poses, it makes no part of the compound of chlorine 
and iron, and, of course, does not affect the subject at 
all in my idea ; and if chemically, wliich is not at all 
probable, it does not make its appearance until water 
is added, and then it is easily accounted for : but in 
order to estimate the experiments exactly, it will be 
necessary to consider the manner in which ferrane is 

' I come next to your remarks, of which I own the 
propriety; and though I do not suppose that at any 
time I can make experiments with more exactness 
and precision than those I have quoted, yet certainly 
the performance would give us a clearer idea. I 
accept of your offer to fight it out with joy, and shall 


in the battle experience and cause, not pain, but I hope 
pleasure ; nevertheless, I will, if you wUl allow me, give, 
whilst I have time and opportunity, and whUst my 
ideas are fresh and collected, what little more I know 
of this theory ; not requiring your immediate answer 
to it, but leaving it to your leisure consideration.' 

(He then gives the views of Davy on chlorine at 

' It is now time to conclude, dear A., which I do with 
best wishes to yourself and friends. In my next I will 
conclude the subject with euchlorine, when I will again 
subscribe myself, your sincere friend, 

' M. Faraday.' 

' Dear A , I have received yours of to-day, the 

perusal of which has raised in my mind a tumult of 
petty passions, amongst which are predominant vexa- 
tion, sorrow, and regret. I write under the influence of 
them, and shall inform you candidly of my feelings at 
this moment. You will see by the foregoing part of 
this letter that I have not acted in unison with your 
request by dropping the subject of chlorine, and for not 
having done so I feel very considerable sorrow. I had 
at various short intervals, as time would permit, drawn 
it up, and felt, I will own, gratified on reading it over ; 
but the reception of yours has made me most heartily 
regret it. Pity me, dear A., in that I have not suffi- 
ciently the mastery of my feelings and passions. In 
the first part of this long epistle you will see the reasons 
I have given for continuing the subject, but I fancy that 
I can now see the pride and self-complacency that led 
me on ; and I am fearful that I was influenced by think- 
ing that I had a superior knowledge in this particular 

VOL. I. D 




-^}1l^ subject. Being now aware of this passion, I have made 
^T. 20. a candid confession of it to you, in hopes to lessen it by- 
mortifying it and humihating it. You will of course 
understand that I shall not now enter on euchlorine 
until it is convenient for both of us, when I hope 
to take up the subject uninfluenced by any of those 
humiliating, and to a philosopher disgraceful, feelings. 
' I subscribe myself, with humihty, yours sincerely, 

' M. Faeadat.' 

The sixth letter was written to Abbott, September 
20, 1812. 

' What ? affirm you have little to say, and yet a 
philosopher ! What a contradiction ! what a paradox ! 
'tis a circumstance I till now had no idea of, nor shall 
I at any time allow you to advance it as a plea for 
not writing. A philosopher cannot fail to abound in 
subjects, and a philosopher can scarcely fail to have a 
plentiful flow of words, ideas, opinions, &c. &c., when 
engaged on them ; at least, I never had reason to sup- 
pose you deficient there. Query by Abbott : " Then 
pray, Mike, why have you not answered my last before 
now, since subjects are so plentiful?" 'Tis neither 
more nor less, dear A., than a want of time. Time, 
Sir, is all I require, and for time will I cry out most 
heartily. Oh that I could purchase at a cheap rate 
some of our modern gents' spare hours, nay, ^ays ; I 
think it would be a good bargain both for them and 
me. As for subjects, there is no want of them, 
I could converse with you, I will not say for ever, but 
for any finite length of time. Philosophy would furnish 
us with matter ; and even now, though I have said no- 
thing, yet the best part of a page is covered. 


' How prone is man to evil ! and how strong a proof 
have I of that propensity when even the liberal breast 
of my friend A. could harbour the vice of covetousness ! 
Nevertheless, on a due consideration of the cause, 
and a slight glance at my own feelings on the same 
subject (they will not bear a strict scrutiny), I pass 
it over thus 

■ • • ■ • 4 

'Your commendations of the MS. lectures^ compel 
me to apologise most humbly for the numerous — very 
very numerous — errors they contain. If I take you 
right, the negative words " no flattery " may be sub- 
stituted by the affirmative " irony : " be it so, I bow to 
the superior scholastic erudition of Sir Ben. There 
are in them errors that will not bear to be jested with, 
since they concern not my own performance so much 
as the performance of Sir H. There are, I am con- 
scious, errors in theory, and those errors I would wish 
you to point out to me before you attribute them to 

His seventh letter to his friend was written September 
28, 1812. 

' Dear A , ... I will hurry on to philosophy, 

where I am a httle more sure of my ground. Your card 
was to me a very interesting and pleasing object.^ I was 
highly gratified in observing so plainly dehneated the 
course of the electric fluid or fluids (I do not know 
which). It appears to me that by making use of a card 
thus prepared, you have hit upon a happy illustrating 

' The notes of the lectures of Davy taken iu the spring of this year. 
* Many will rememher the use he made of this experiment iu after 
years in his lectures. 

s 2 


medium between a conductor and a non-conductor ; 
had the interposed medium been a conductor, the elec- 
tricity would have passed in connection through it — it 
would not have been divided ; had the medium been a 
non-conductor, it would have passed in connection, and 
undivided, as a spark over it, but by this varying and 
disjoined conductor it has been divided most effectually. 
Should you pursue this point at any time still further, it 
will be necessary to ascertain by what particular power 
or effort the spark is divided, whether by its affinity to 
the conductor or by its own repulsion ; or if, as I have 
no dovibt is the case, by the joint action of these two 
forces, it would be weU to observe and ascertain the 
proportion of each in the effect. There are problems 
the solution of which will be difficult to obtain, but 
the science of electricity will not be complete without 
them ; and a philosopher will aim at perfection, though 
he may not hit it — difficulties will not retard him, but 
only cause a proportionate exertion of his mental 

' I had a very pleasing view of the planet Saturn last 
week through a refractor with a power of ninety. I 
saw his ring very distinctly ; 'tis a singular appendage 
to a planet, to a revolving globe, and I should think 
caused some peculiar phenomena to the planet within 
it. I allude to their mutual action with respect to 
meteorology and perhaps electricity.' .... 

His eighth letter to Abbott is dated October 1, 1812 ; 
it was the last that he wrote before his apprenticeship 

' No — no — no — no, none ; right — no, philosophy is 
not dead yet — no — O no ; he knows it — thank you — 
'tis impossible — bravo ! 


'In the above lines, dear A., you have full and 
explicit answers to the first page of yours dated Sep- 
tember 28. I was paper-hanging at the time I received 
it ; but what a change of thought it occasioned ; what a 
concussion, confusion, conglomeration ; what a revolu- 
tion of ideas it produced — oh ! 'twas too much ; — away 
went cloths, shears, paper, paste and brush, all — all was 
too little, aU was too light to keep my thoughts from 
soaring high, connected close with thine. 

'With what rapture would a votary of the Muses 
grasp that inimitable page ! how would he dwell on 
every hue and pore on every letter ! and with what 
horror, dread, disgust, and every repulsive passion, 
would he start back from the word BABILLA to 
which I now come ! I cannot here refrain from regret- 
ting my inability (principally for want of time) to per- 
form the experiments you relate to me. I mean not to 
reflect on any want of clearness in your details ; on the 
contrary, I congratulate you on the quickness with 
which you note and observe any new appearances ; but 
the sight possesses such a superiority over the other 
senses, in its power of conveying to the mind fair ideas, 
that I wish in every case to use it. I am much gratified 
with your account of the barilla ; but do I read right 
that part of your letter which says that the salt you ob- 
tained from the first treatment of it was efflorescent? 
As I went on to that passage, I did not expect that you 
would obtain any crystals at all, but only an uniform 
mass ; but that crystals containing so great a quantity 
of alkali, in I suppose nearly a free state, should give 
out water to the atmosphere, surprised me exceedingly 
— explain, if you please. 


1812. < I rejoice in your determination to pursue the sub- 
Mt. 21. ject of electricity, and have no doubt that I shall have 
some very interesting letters on the subject. I shall 
certainly wish to (and will if possible) be present at the 
performance of the experiments ; but you know I shall 
shortly enter on the hfe of a journeyman, and then I 
suppose time wiU be more scarce than it is even now. 

' Venus, I find, is amongst your visible planets — 'tis 
a — beautiful — obj ect — certainly. ' 




On October 8, 1812, Faraday went as a journeyman . ^^^^- 
bookbinder to a Mr. De la Eoclae, then a French emi- -^^- ^^• 
grant in London. He was a very passionate man, ' and 
gave his assistant so much trouble that he felt he could 
not remain in his place,' although his master held out 
every inducement to him to stay, and even said to 
him, ' I have no child, and if you will stay with me 
you shaU have all I have when I am gone.' 

The letters which Faraday wrote to his friends 
Abbott and Huxtable show ' how eager was the desire 
he felt to proceed further in the way of pliilosophy,' 
and how strongly he was drawn towards ' the service 
of science ; ' they also show how far he had educated 
himself when he first went to the Eoyal Institution, 
and they give an insight into his character when he 
changed his course of life, and began his scientific 
career at the very lowest step, but under the greatest 
master of the time. 

Four days after his apprenticeship ended, he wrote to 
his friend Abbott. 



' Sunday aftemooiij Octoter 11, 1812. 

' Dear A , I thank you heartily for your letter 

yesterday, the which gave me greater pleasure than 
any one I had before received from you. I know not 
whether you wiH be pleased by such commendation or 
not ; it is the best I can bestow. I intend at this time 
to answer it, but would wish you, before you read the 
ensuing matter, to banish from your mind all frivolous 
passions. It is possible that what I may say would 
only tend to give rise (under their influence) to disdain, 
contempt, &c., for at present I am in as serious a mood 
as you can be, and would not scruple to speak a truth 
to any human being, whatever repugnance it might 
give rise to. Being in this state of mind, I should have 
refrained from writing to you, did I not conceive, from 
the general tenor of your letter, that your mind is, at 
proper times, occupied on serious subjects to the exclu- 
sion of those which comparatively are frivolous. 

' I cannot fail to feel gratified, my dear friend, at the 
post I appear to occupy in your mind, and I will very 
openly affirm that I attach much greater importance to 
that interest since the perusal of your last. I would 
much rather engage the good opinion of one moral 
philosopher who acts up to his precepts, than the at- 
tentions and commonplace friendship of fifty natural 
philosophers. This being my mind, I cannot fail to 
think more honourably of my friend since the confirm 
ation of my good opinion, and I now feel somewhat 
satisfied that I have judged him rightly. 

' As for the change you suppose to have taken place 
with respect to my situation and affairs, I have to thank 


my late master that it is but little. Of liberty and time 
I have, if possible, less than before, though I hope my 
cirGumspection has not at the same time decreased ; I 
am well aware of the irreparable evils that an abuse of 
those blessings will give rise to. These were pointed 
out to me by common sense, nor do I see how any one 
who considers his own station, and his own free occu- 
pations, pleasures, actions, &c., can unwittingly engage 
himself in them. I thank that Cause to whom thanks 
are due that I am not in general a profuse waster of 
those blessings which are bestowed on me as a human 
being — I mean health, sensation, time, and temporal 
resources. Understand me clearly here, for I wish 
much not to be mistaken. I am well aware of my 
own nature, it is evil, and I feel its influence strongly ; 
I know too that — but I find that I am passing insensibly 
to a point of divinity, and as those matters are not to 
be treated lightly, I will refrain from pursuing it. All 
I meant to say on that point was that I keep regular 
hours, enter not intentionally into pleasures productive 
of evil, reverence those who require reverence from 
me, and act up to what the world calls good. I appear 
moral and hope that I am so, though at the same time 
I consider morality only as a lamentably deficient state. 
' I know not whether you are aware of it by any 
means, but my mind delights to occupy itself on serious 
subjects, and I am never better pleased than when I am 
in conversation with a companion of my own turn of 
mind. I have to regret that the expiration of my 
apprenticeship hath deprived me of the frequent com- 
pany and conversation of a very serious and improving 
young companion, but I am now in hopes of a com- 


pensation by the acquisition of, at times, a letter from 
you. I am very considerably indebted to him for the 
sober turn or bent of my reason, and heartily thank 
him for it. In our various conversations we have fre- 
quently touched on the different parts of your letter, 
and I have every reason to suppose that, by so doing, 
we have been reciprocally benefitted. 

' I cannot help but be pleased with the earnest man- 
ner in which you enforce the necessity of precaution in 
respect of new acquaintances. I have long been con- 
scious of it, and it is that consciousness which limits my 
friends to the very small number that comprises them. 
I feel no hesitation in saying that I scrutinised you 
long and closely before I satisfied the doubts in my 
breast, but I now trust they are all allayed. 

' It appears that in the article of experience you are 
my superior. You have been tried ; if the result of the 
trial satisfies your own good sense and inward admoni- 
tions, I rest satisfied that you acted rightly. I am weU 
aware that to act rightly is at times difficult ; our judg- 
ment and good sense are oftentimes opposed, and that 
strongly too, by our passions and wishes. That we 
may never give up the first for the sake of the last is 
the earnest wish of your friend. 

' I have made use of the term friend several times, 
and in one place I find the expression commonplace 
friendship. It will perhaps not be improper at this 
time to give you my ideas on true friendship and 
eligible companions. In every action of our lives I 
conceive that reference ought to be had to a Superior 
Being, and in nothing ought we to oppose or act con- 
trary to His precepts. These ideas make me extremely 
displeased with the general and also the ancient idea 


of friendship. A few lines strike upon my mind at this 
moment ; they begin thus : — 

A generous friendship no cold medium knows, 
But with one love, with one resentment glows, &c. 

and convey sentiments that in my mind give rise to 
extreme disgust. According to what I have said, a few 
hnes above, I would define a friend, a true friend, to 
be " one who will serve his companion next to his 
God ;" nor will I admit that an immoral person can fill 
completely the character of a true friend. Having this 
idea of friendship, it was natural for me to make a 
self-inquiry, whether I could fill the character, but, I 
am not satisfied with my own conclusions on that 
point ; I fear I cannot. True friendship I consider as 
one of the sublimest feehngs that the human mind is 
capable of, and requires a mind of almost infinite 
strength, and at the same time of complete self-know- 
ledge. Such being the case, and knowing my own 
deficiency in those points, I must admire it, but fear I 
cannot attain it. The above is my opinion of true 
friendship, a passion or feeling I have never personally 
met with, and a subject that has been understood by 
very few that I have discussed it with. Amongst my 
companions I am conscious of only one who thinks the 
same of it that I do, but who confesses his inability to 
fiU the character. 

' When meditating and examining the character of a 
person with respect to his fitness for a companion, I go 
much farther than is generally the case. A good com- 
panion, in the common acceptation of the word, is one 
who is respectable both in connection and manners, is 
not in a lower rank of life than oneself, and does not 
openly or in general act improperly ; this I say is the 


1812. common meaning of the word, but I am by no means 
Mr. 21. satisfied witli it. I have met a good companion in the 
lowest path of life, and I have found such as I despised 
in a rank far superior to mine. A companion cannot 
be a good one unless he is morally so ; and however 
engaging may be his general habits, and whatever 
peculiar circumstances may be connected with him, so 
as to make him desirable, reason and common sense 
point him out as an improper companion or acquaint- 
ance unless his nobler faculties, his intellectual powers, 
are, in proportion, as correct as his outward behaviour. 
What am I to think of that person who, despising the 
improvement and rectitude of his mind, spends aU 
his efibrts in arranging into a nice form his body, 
speech, habits, &c. ? Is he an estimable character ? 
Is he a commendable companion ? No, surely not. 
Xor will such ever gain my commendation. On re- 
collecting myself, I fancy I have said enough on this 
subject ; I will therefore draw towards a conclusion. 

' I am in hopes of again hearing from you at some 
of your serious moments, at which time you, of course, 
will express yourself as I have done, without cere- 
mony. But I must conclude in confidence that you 
are an eligible companion ; and wishing that you may 
attain even to the character of a true friend, 

' I remain yours, dear A., very sincerely, 

' M. Faeadat.' 

A few days later he writes to his friend Mr. Huxtable. 

'London, October 18, 1812. 

'Dear Huxtable, — ^Tou will be at a loss to know 
what to think of me, inasmuch as near two months 


have expired, and you have not, in that time, received 1812. 
any answer to your agreeable communication. I have mi. 21. 
to beg your pardon for such delay, and scarce know 
how satisfactorily to account for it. I have indeed acted 
unadvisedly on that point, for, conceiving that it would 
be better to delay my answer until my time was expired, 
I did so. That took place on October 7, and since 
then I have had by far less time and liberty than 
before. With respect to a certain place I was disap- 
pointed, and am now working at my old trade, the 
which I wish to leave at the first convenient opportu- 
nity. I hope (though fear not) that you will be 
satisfied with this cause for my silence ; and if it ap- 
pears insufficient to you, I must trust to your goodness. 
With respect to the progress of the sciences I know 
but little, and am now likely to know still less ; indeed, 
as long as I stop in my present situation (and I see no 
chance of getting out of it just yet), I must resign 
philosophy entirely to those who are more fortunate in 
the possession of time and means. 

' Sir H. Davy is at present, I believe, in Scotland. I 
do not know that he has made any further advances in 
Chemical science. He is engaged in publishing a new 
work, called " The Elements of Chemical Philosophy," 
which will contain, I believe, all his discoveries, and 
will likewise be a detail of his philosophical opinions. 
One part of the first volume is published. It is in price 
lis. or 12s. Qd. I have not yet seen it. Abbott, whom 
you know some little about, has become a member of 
the City Philosophical Society, which is held at Tatum's 
house every Wednesday evening. He (Abbott) has sent 
me a ticket for admission next Wednesday to a lecture ; 
but as you know their rules, I have no need to enter 
further into them. 


^812^ ' "W'itli Abbott I continue a very intimate and pleasing 
-s:t. 21. acquaintance. I find Mm to be a very well-informed 
young man. His ideas are correct, and Ms knowledge, 
general as well as philosophical, is extensive. He acts 
too with a propriety of behaviour equal to your own, 
and I congratulate myself much on the acquisition of 
two such friends as yourself and him. 

'How are you situated now? Do you intend to 
stop in the country, or are you again coming up to 
London P I was in hopes that I should see you shortly 
again. Not that I wish to interfere in your arrange- 
ments, but for the pleasure it would give me. But I 
must not be selfish. It is possible that you may be 
settled where you are at present, or other strong and 
urgent reasons may exist that wiH keep you there. If 
it is so, I wish they may be such as will afibrd you 
pleasure, and tend to increase the happiness and com- 
fort of your fife. 

' I am at present in very low spirits, and scarce 
know how to continue on in a strain that will be 
anyway agreeable to you ; I will therefore draw to a 
close tMs duU epistle, and conclude vdth wishing you 
all health and happiness, assuring you that I am 
sincerely yours, 

'M. Faeadat. 

' Mr. T. Huxtable, at Mr. Anthony's, 
South Moulton, Devonshire.' 

Among the scanty notes left by Faraday of Ms own 
life, he says : ' Under the encouragement of Mr. Dance,' 
who had taken him to the lectures at the Eoyal Insti- 
tution, ' I wrote to Sir Humphry Davy, sending, as a 
proof of my earnestness, the notes I had taken of his 
last four lectures. The reply was immediate, kind, and 


favourable. After this I continued to work as a book- 1812. 
binder, with the exception of some days during which M-r. 21. 
I was writing as an amanuensis for Sir H. Davy, at the 
time when the latter was wounded in the eye from an 
explosion of the chloride of nitrogen.' 

Faraday gave to Dr. Paris a fuller account of his 
first acquaintance with Sir H. Davy. This was published 
in ' The Life of Davy,' by Dr. Paris, vol. ii. p. 2. 


' Eoyal Institution, December 23, 1829. 

' My dear Sir, — You asked me to give you an account 
of my first introduction to Sir H. Davy, which I am 
very happy to do, as I think the circumstances will 
bear testimony to the goodness of his heart. 

' When I was a bookseller's apprentice I was very 
fond of experiment and very adverse to trade. It 
happened that a gentleman, a member of the Eoyal 
Institution, took me to hear some of Sir H. Davy's last 
lectures in Albemarle Street. I took notes, and after- 
wards wrote them out more fairly in a quarto volume. 

' My desire to escape from trade, which I thought 
vicious and selfish, and to enter into the service of 
Science, which I imagined made its pursuers amiable 
and hberal, induced me at last to take the bold and 
simple step of writing to Sir H. Davy, expressing my 
wishes, and a hope that if an opportunity came in his 
way he would favour my views ; at the same time, I 
sent the notes I had taken of his lectures. 

' The answer, which makes all the point of my com- 
munication, I send you in the original, requesting you 
to take great care of it, and to let me have it back, for 
you may imagine how much I value it. 


' You will observe that this took place at the end of 
the year 1812 ; and early in 1813 he requested to see 
me, and told me of the situation of assistant in the 
laboratory of the Eoyal Institution, then just vacant. 

' At the same time that he thus gratified my deshes 
as to scientific employment, he still advised me not to 
give up the prospects I had before me, telling me that 
Science was a harsh mistress, and in a pecuniary point 
of view but poorly rewarding those who devoted them- 
selves to her service. He smiled at my notion, of the 
superior moral feeUngs of philosophic men, and said he 
would leave me to the experience of a few years to set 
me right on that matter. 

' Finally, through his good efforts, I went to the Eoyal 
Institution, early in March of 1813, as assistant in the 
laboratory ; and in October of the same year went with 
him abroad, as his assistant in experiments and in writ- 
ing. I returned with him in April 1815, resumed my 
station in the Eoyal Institution, and have, as you know, 
ever since remained there. 

' I am, dear Sir, ever truly yours, 

' M. Faraday.' 

The following is the note of Sir H. Davy alluded to 
in Mr. Faraday's letter : — 


' December 24, 1812. 

' Sir, — I am far from displeased with the proof you 
have given me of your confidence, and which displays 
great zeal, power of memory, and attention. I am 
obliged to go out of town, and shall not be settled in 
town till the end of January ; I will then see you at any 


time you wish. It would gratify me to be of any ser- 
vice to you ; I wish it may be in my power. 
' I am, Sir, your obedient humble servant, 

' H. Davy.' 

Not only did Sir H. Davy, at his first interview,^ 
advise him to keep in business as a bookbinder, but he 
promised to give him the work of the Institution, as well 
as his own and that of as many of his friends as he could 

One night, when undressing in Weymouth Street, 
Faraday was startled by a loud knock at the door ; and 
on looking out he saw a carriage from which the foot- 
man had ahghted and left a note for him. This was a 
request from Sir H. Davy that he would call on him the 
next morning. Sir H. Davy then referred to their 
former interview, and inquired whether he was still in 
the same mind, telling him that if so he would give 
him the place of assistant in the laboratory of the Eoyal 
Institution, from which he had on the previous day 
ejected its former occupant. The salary was to be 25s. 
a week, with two rooms at the top of the house. 

In the minutes of the meeting of managers on 
March 1, 1813, is this entry: — 'Sir Humphry Davy 
has the honour to inform the managers that he has 
found a person who is desirous to occupy the situation 
in the Institution lately filled by WiUiam Payne. His 
name is Michael Faraday. He is a youth of twenty-two 
years of age. As far as Sir H. Davy has been able to 
observe or ascertain, he appears well fitted for the situa- 
tion. His habits seem good, his disposition active and 

' This interview took place in the anteroom to the theatre, by the 
window which is nearest to the corridor. 

VOL. I. E 



cheerful, and his manner intelligent. He is willing to 
engage himself on the same terms as those given to 
Mr. Payne at the time of quitting the Institution. 

' Eesolved, — That Michael Faraday be engaged to 
fill the situation lately occupied by Mr. Payne on the 
same terms.' 

Amongst the few notes he made of his own life 
there are two or three which relate to 1813. The 
first has reference to his joining the City Philosophical 
Society. ' This,' he says, ' was founded in 1808 at Mr. 
Tatum's house, and I believe by him. He introduced 
me as a member of the Society in 1813. Magrath was 
Secretary to the Society. It consisted of thirty or forty 
individuals, perhaps all in the humble or moderate rank 
of life. Those persons met every Wednesday evening 
for mutual instruction. Every other Wednesday the 
members were alone, and considered and discussed such 
questions as were brought forward by each in tiu-n. On 
the intervening Wednesday evenings friends also of the 
members were admitted, and a lecture was delivered, 
literary or philosophical, each member taking the duty, 
if possible, in turn (or in default paying a fine of half 
a guinea). This society was very moderate in its pre- 
tensions, and most valuable to the members in its re- 
sults.' (' I remember, too,' says one of the members, 
' we had a " class-book " in which, in rotation, we wrote 
essays, and passed it to each other's houses.') 

Another note also relates to the self-education which 
now as ever he was striving to obtain. 

' During this spring Magrath and I estabhshed the 
mutual-improvement plan, and met at my rooms up in 
the attics of the Eoyal Institution, or at Wood Street at 
his warehouse. It consisted perhaps of half-a-dozen 


persons, chiefly from the City Philosophical Society, 1813^ 
who met of an evening to read together, and to criti- jEt. 21. 
cise, correct, and improve each other's pronunciation 
and construction of language. The discipline was 
very sturdy, the remarks very plain and open, and 
the results most valuable. This continued for several 
years.' Saturday night was the time of meeting at 
the Eoyal Institution, in the furthest and uppermost 
room in the house, then Faraday's place of residence. 

The letters which Faraday wrote to Abbott this 
year give not only an insight into his mind when he 
first came to the Eoyal Institution, but show the work 
on which he immediately entered in the laboratory, and 
the amount of skill in chemical manipulation which he 
must have gained by experiments in Blandford Street. 

In four of the letters he made remarks on lecture 
rooms, lectures, apparatus, diagrams, experiments, 
audiences : these show the keenness of his observation, 
the abundance of his ideas, and the soundness of his 
judgment; and it is worthy of notice that he wrote 
without the slightest forecast of his future career. He 
says, ' It may perhaps appear singular and improper 
that one who is entirely unfit for such an office himself, 
and who does not even pretend to any of the requisites 
for it, should take upon him to censure and to com- 
mend others,' &c. ; and yet within two years and a half 
he began a course of lectures on Chemistry at the City 
Philosophical Society, and he continued to lecture for 
thirty-eight years at the Eoyal Institution. Moreover, 
the reputation he had with the world in general as a 
scientific lecturer was certainly not less than that which 
he gained among scientific men as a philosopher and as 
an experimentalist. He Lised every aid to improve his 

E '2 


language and method, and to avoid even the slightest 
pecuUarity ; and yet he kept his simplicity and natural 
manner, as though he had never profited by professional 
instruction nor owed anything to friendly correction. 

As early as March 8, seven days after his appoint- 
ment, Faraday dates his first letter from the Eoyal 
Institution to his friend Abbott. 

' Royal Institution, March 8, 1813. 

' It is now about nine o'clock, and the thought strikes 
me that the tongues are going both at Tatum's and at 
the lecture in Bedford Street ; but I fancy myself much 
better employed than I should have been at the lecture 
at either of those places. Indeed, I have heard one 
lectm-e already to-day, and had a finger in it (I can't 
say a hand, for I did very little). It was by Mr. Powell, 
on mechanics, or rather on rotatory motion, and was a 
pretty good lecture, but not very fully attended. 

' As I know you Avill feel a pleasure in hearing in 
what I have been or shall be occupied, I will inform 
you that I have been employed to-day, in part, in ex- 
tracting the sugar from a portion of beetroot, and also 
in making a compound of sulphur and carbon — a com- 
bination which has lately occupied in a considerable 
degree the attention of chemists. 

' With respect to next Wednesday, I shall be occupied 
until late in the afternoon by Sir H. Davy, and must 
therefore decline seeing you at that time ; this I am the 
more ready to do as I shall enjoy your company next 
Sunday, and hope to possess it often in a short time. 

' Tou must not expect a long letter from me at this 
time, for I assure you my hand feels somewhat strange 
in the occupation, and my thoughts come but lazily ; 


this must plead in excuse for so uninteresting a com- 1813^ 
pound, and I entertain but little doubt that it will -^t- 21. 
gain it. 'M. Faeaday.' 

His next letter to his friend was written six weeks 
after he came to the Institution. 

'Thursday evening, April 9, 1813. 

' I shall at this time proceed to acquaint you with 
the results of some more experiments on the detonat- 
ing compound of chlorine and azote ; and I am happy 
to say I do it at my ease, for I have escaped (not 
quite unhurt) from four different and strong explosions 
of the substance. Of these the most terrible was when 
I was holding between my thumb and finger a small 
tube containing 7 .^ grains of it. My face was within 
twelve inches of the tube ; but I fortunately had on a 
glass mask. It exploded by the slight heat of a small 
piece of cement that touched the glass above half an 
inch from the substance, and on the outside. The ex- 
plosion was so rapid as to blow my hand open, tear off a 
part of one nail, and has made my fingers so sore that I 
cannot yet use them easily. The pieces of tube were 
projected with such force as to cut the glass face of the 
mask I had on. But to proceed with an account of 
the experiments : — 

' A tube was filled with dry boiled mercury, and in- 
verted in a glass containing also mercury, a portion of 
the compound was thrown up into it, and it was then 
left to act all last night. On examining it this morning 
the compound was gone ; a substance was formed in the 
tube, and a gas obtained : this gas was azote, the sub- 
stance corrosive mercury, evidently proving it to be a 



— ^^^ compound of chlorine or oxymuriatic acid gas and 

.T:r. 21. azote-. On repeating the experiment tliis mominff, as 

soon a.? it vrs -; thrown np it exploded, and the tube aud 

a receiver were blown to pieces. I got a cut on my 

eyelid, and Sir H. bruised his hand. 

• A portion of it was then introduced into a tube, and 
a stop-cook connected to it It was then taken to the 
air-pump, and exhausted until we supposed the substance 
to have rose and fiUed the tube with vapour. It was 
then heated by a sp'.rit-lamp, and in a few moments an 
inflammation took place in the tube : but aU stood firm-. 
On taking it off from the pmnp, in order to ascertain the 
products, it was found that so much common air had 
passe<i in from the barrels of the pump as to render the 
experiment indecisive; and therefore it was repeated this 
morning with a larger portion of the substance. When 
put in the pump it was exhausted, and there stood for a 
moment or two, and then exploded with a fearful noise : 
both Sir H. and I had masks on, but I escaped this time 
the best. Sir H. had his face cut in two places about 
the chin, and a violent blow on the forehead struck 
through a considerable thickness of silk and leather ; 
and with this experiment he has for the present con- 
cluded. The specific gravity of this substance, as ascer- 
tained yesterday by comparing its weight with the 
weight of an equal btdk of water, is 1-95, so that my 
former estimate is incorrect ; but vou will excuse it as 
being the estimate of a tyro in chemical science. 

• Such are some few of the properties of this terrible 
compound, and such are the experiments in which those 
properties are evinced : from these it appears to be a 
compound of chlorine and azote, for the presence of any 
other body has not been satisfactorily proved. It is a 


body which confers considerable importance on azote, 
which has till now been celebrated chiefly for negative 
properties. It shows its energy when united in this com- 
bination ; and in this compound, too, azote is rendered 
capable of decomposing the muriatic acid, as shown by 
the experiment related in my last : it combines with the 
hydrogen to form ammonia, and the chlorine of the 
compound and of the acid are liberated. 

'This compound is of such explosive power as to 
render it imprudent to consider it at any time and in 
any state as secure. Oftentimes it will explode in an 
experiment that has been before made five or six times 
with perfect safety, and in which you have been lulled 
into a dangerous security. I was yesterday putting 
some into a clean dry tube, when it exploded on 
touching the glass, and rushed in my face ; so that it 
is, as I before said, improper to consider it at any time 
as secure. 

' But away with philosophy at present. Eemember 
me to all friends within the ethereal atmosphere of 
Bermondsey ; and believe me to be, what I hope shortly 
to assure you personally I am, yours truly, 

' M. Paeaday.' 

The next letter to Abbott is written on May 12. 

' The monk, for the chastisement of his body and 
mortification of his sensual lusts and worldly appetites, 
abstains from pleasures and even the simple supplies 
that nature calls for ; the miser, for reasons as strong 
though diametrically opposite — the gratification of a 
darling passion — does exactly the same, and leaves 
unenjoyed every comfort of life ; but I, for no reason 


at all, have neglected that which constitutes one of my 
greatest pleasures, and one that may be enjoyed with 
the greatest propriety, till on a sudden, as the dense 
light of the electric flash pervades the horizon, so 
struck the thought of A. through my soul. 

'And yet, B., though I mean to write to you at 
this time, I have no subject in particular out of which 
I can cut a letter. I shall, therefore (if you will allow 
me a second simile), follow the pattern of the expert 
sempstress who, when she has cut out all her large and 
important works, collects and combines, as fancy may 
direct, pieces of all sorts and sizes, shapes and colours, 
and calls it patch-work — such a thing will this epistle 
most probably turn out ; begun one day, yet most 
likely finished on another ; formed of things no other- 
wise connected than as they stand upon the paper — 
things, too, of different kinds. It may well be called 
patch-work, or work which pleases none more than 
the maker. What is the matter with the thumb and 
forefinger of your right hand .? and yet, though they 
be ever so much out of order, it can scarcely excuse 
your long silence. I have expected something from 
you before now, even though it might be w^ritten with 
the left hand. 

' " He that hath not music in his heart," &c. Con- 
found the music, say I ; it turns my thoughts quite 
round, or rather half way round, from the letter. You 
must know. Sir, that there is a grand party at dinner at 
Jacques' Hotel, which immediately faces the back of 
the Institution ; and the music is so excellent, that I 
cannot for the life of me help running at every new 
piece they play to the window to hear them. I shall 
do no good at this letter to-night, and so wiU get to bed, 


and "listen, listen to the voice of" bassoons, violins, 1813. 
clarionettes, trumpets, serpents, and all the accessories jEt. 21. 
to good music. I can't stop. Good-night. 

'May 14th. — What a singular compound is man! 
Avhat strange contradictory ingredients enter into his 
composition, and how completely each one predominates 
for a time, according as it is favoured by the tone of 
the mind and senses, and other exciting circumstances ! — 
at one time grave, circumspect, and cautious; at another, 
silly, headstrong, and careless ; — now conscious of his 
dignity, he considers himself a lord of the creation, 
yet in a few hours will conduct himself in a way that 
places him beneath the level of beasts ; at times free, 
frivolous, and open, his tongue is an unobstructed 
conveyer of his thoughts — thoughts which, on after- 
consideration, make him ashamed of his former be- 
haviour ; indeed, the numerous paradoxes, anomalies, 
and contradictions in man exceed in number all that 
can be found in nature elsewhere, and separate and 
distinguish him, if nothing else did, from every other 
created object, organised or not. The study of these cir- 
cumstances is not uninteresting, inasmuch as knowledge 
of them enables us to conduct ourselves with much 
more propriety in every situation in life. Without 
knowing how far we ourselves are affected by them, 
we should be unable to trust to our discretion amongst 
other persons ; and without some knowledge of the 
part they bear or make in their own position, we should 
be unable to behave to them unreserved and with 

' It was my intention, when I again sat down to this 
letter, to obliterate all the former part of it ; but the 
thoughts I have just set down were sufficient to alter 


my determination. I have left them as being the free 
utterance of an unemployed mind, and dehneating a 
true part of my constitution; I believe, too, that I 
know sufficiently of the component parts of my friend 
to justify my confidence in letting them remain un- 

' For much more I have neither room nor time to 
spare ; nor, had I, would I lengthen what is already 
too long ; yet, as a clock, after giving warning, passes 
on for a few moments before it strikes, so do I linger 
on the paper. It is my intention to accept of your 
kind invitation for Sunday morning (further your de- 
ponent knoweth not) ; and I shall, therefore, take the 
hberty of seeing you after breakfast, at about 9.45; tiU 
when I remain, with respects to all friends, yours truly, 

' M. Faraday.' 

The next letter to Abbott is dated June 1, 1813. 

' Dear A , Again I resort, for pleasure and to 

dispel the dulness of a violent headache, to my cor- 
respondence with you, though perfectly unfit for it 
except as it may answer the purpose of amusing myself. 
The subject upon which I shall dwell more particularly 
at present has been in my head for some considerable 
time, and it now bursts forth in all its confusion. The 
opportunities that I have latterly had of attending and 
obtaining instruction from various lecturers in their 
performance of the duty attached to that office, has 
enabled me to observe the various habits, pecuharities, 
excellences, and defects of each of them as they were 
evident to me during the delivery. I did not wholly 
let this part of the things occurrent escape my notice, 
but when I found myself pleased, endeavoured to 


ascertain the particular circumstance that had affected 
me ; also, whilst attending Mr. Brande and Mr. Powell 
in their lectures, I observed how the audience were 
affected, and by what their pleasure and their censure 
were drawn forth. 

' It may, perhaps, appear singular and improper that 
one who is entirely unfit for such an office himself, and 
who does not even pretend to any of the requisites for 
it, should take upon him to censure and to commend 
others, to express satisfaction at this, to be displeased 
with that, according as he is led by his judgment, when 
he allows that his judgment is unfit for it ; but I do 
not see, on consideration, that the impropriety is so 
great. If I am unfit for it, 'tis evident that I have yet 
to learn, and how learn better than by the observation 
of others? If we never judge at all, we shall never 
judge right ; and it is far better to learn to use our 
mental powers (though it may take a whole life for the 
purpose) than to leave them buried in idleness a mere 

' I too have inducements in the C.P.S. (City Philo- 
sophical Society) to draw me forward in the acquisition 
of a small portion of knowledge on this point, and 
these alone would be sufficient to urge me forward in 
J men "|^ ^ J things 


'In a word, B., I intend to give you my ideas 
on the subject of lectures and lecturers in general. 
The observations and ideas I shall set down are such 
as entered my mind at the moment the circumstances 
that gave rise to them took place. I shall point out 
but few beauties or few faults that I have not witnessed 
in the presence of a numerous assembly; and it is 

. ^ ^ r men 1 f 

my ludgment of i i , ( and \ 

J J ° I lectures J [ 


exceedingly probable, or rather certain, that I should 
have noticed more of these particulars if I had seen, 
more lecturers ; or, in other words, I do not pretend to 
give you an account of all the faults possible in a 
lecture, or directions for the composing and delivering 
of a perfect one. 

' On going to a lecture I generally get there before 
it begins ; indeed, I consider it as an impropriety of 
no small magnitude to disturb the attention of an 
audience by entering amongst them in the midst of a 
lecture, and, indeed, bordering on an insult to the 
lecturer. By arriving there before the commencement, 
I have avoided this error, and have had time to observe 
the lecture room.' 

(He then dwells on the form of the lecture room.) 

' There is another circumstance to be considered with 
respect to a lecture room of as much importance almost 
as light itself, and that is ventilation. How often have 
I felt oppression in the highest degree when surrounded 
by a number of other persons, and confined in one 
portion of air! How have I wished the lecture finished, 
the lights extinguished, and myself away merely to obtain 
a fresh supply of that element ! The want of it caused 
the want of attention, of pleasure, and even of comfort, 
and not to be regained without its previous admission. 
Attention to this is more particularly necessary in a 
lecture room intended for night delivery, as the lights 
burning add considerably to the oppression produced 
on the body. 

' Entrance and exit are things, too, worthy of con- 
sideration amongst the particulars of a lecture room ; 
but I shall say no more on them than to refer you to 
the mode in which this is arranged here — a mode excel- 


lently well adapted for the convenience of a great 
number of persons. 

' Having thus thrown off, in a cursory manner, such 
thoughts as spontaneously entered my mind on this 
part of the subject, it appears proper next to consider 
the subjects fit for the purposes of a lecture. Science 
is undeniably the most eminent in its fitness for this 
purpose. There is no part of it that may not be treated 
of, illustrated, and explained with profit and pleasure to 
the hearers in this manner. The facility, too, with 
which it allows of manual and experimental illustration 
places it foremost in this class of subjects. After it come 
(as I conceive) arts and manufactures, the polite arts, 
belles lettres, and a list which may be extended until it 
includes almost every thought and idea in the mind of 
man, pohtics excepted. I was going to add religion to 
the exception, but remembered that it is explained and 
laid forth in the most popular and eminent manner in 
this way. The fitness of subjects, however, is connected 
in an inseparable manner with the kind of audience 
that is to be present, since excellent lectures in them- 
selves would appear absurd if delivered before an 
audience that did not understand them. Anatomy 
would not do for the generality of audiences at the 
Eoyal Institution, neither would metaphysics engage 
the attention of a company of schoolboys. Let the 
subject fit the audience, or otherwise success may be 
despaired of 

' A lecturer may consider his audience as being polite 
or vulgar (terms I wish you to understand according 
to Shufileton's new dictionary), learned or unlearned 
(with respect to the subject), listeners or gazers. Polite 
company expect to be entertained not only by the 


subject of the lecture, but by the manner of the lec- 
turer; they look for respect, for language consonant 
to their dignity, and ideas on a level with their own. 
The vulgar — that is to say in general, those who will 
take the trouble of thinking, and the bees of business — 
wish for something that they can comprehend. This may 
be deep and elaborate for the learned, but for those 
who are as yet tyros and unacquainted with the sub- 
ject must be simple and plain. Lastly, listeners expect 
reason and sense, whilst gazers only require a succession 
of words. 

' These considerations should all of them engage the 
attention of the lecturer whilst preparing for his occu- 
pation, each particular having an influence on his 
arrangements proportionate to the nature of the com- 
pany he expects. He should consider them connectedly, 
so as to keep engaged completely during the whole of 
the lecture the attention of his audience. 

' If agreeable, this subject shall be resumed at a future 
time ; till when I am, as always, yours sincerely, 

' M. Faraday.' 

The next letter to Abbott is dated June 4th. 

' I need not point out to the active mind of my friend 
the astonishing disproportion, or rather difference, in 
the perceptive powers of the eye and the ear, and the 
facility and clearness with which the first of these organs 
conveys ideas to the mind — ideas which, being thus 
gained, are held far more retentively and firmly in the 
memory than when introduced by the ear. 'Tis true 
the ear here labours under a disadvantage, which is that 
the lecturer may not always be qualified to state a fact 


with the utmost precision and clearness that language 
allows him and that the ear can understand, and thus 
the complete action of the organ, or rather of its assigned 
portion of the sensorium, is not called forth ; but this 
evidently points out to us the necessity of aiding it by 
using the eye also as a medium for the attainment 
of knowledge, and strikingly shows the necessity of 

'Apparatus therefore is an essential part of every 
lecture in which it can be introduced ; but to apparatus 
should be added, at every convenient opportunity, 
illustrations that may not perhaps deserve the name of 
apparatus and of experiments, and yet may be intro- 
duced vsdth considerable force and effect in proper 
places. Diagrams, and tables too, are necessary, or at 
least add in an eminent degree to the illustration and 
perfection of a lecture. When an experimental lecture 
is to be delivered, and apparatus is to be exhibited, 
some kind of order should be observed in the arrange- 
ment of them on the lecture table. Every particular 
part illustrative of the lecture should be in view, no 
one thing should hide another from the audience, nor 
should anything stand in the way of or obstruct the 
lecturer. They should be so placed, too, as to produce 
a kind of uniformity in appearance. No one part 
should appear naked and another crowded, unless some 
particular reason exists and makes it necessary to be so. 
At the same time, the whole should be so arranged as 
to keep one operation from interfering with another. If 
the lecture table appears crowded, if the lecturer (hid 
by his apparatus) is invisible, if things appear crooked, 
or aside, or unequal, or if some are out of sight, and 
this without any particular reason, the lecturer is con •• 


1813. sidered (and with reason too) as an awkward contriver 
(Et. 21. and a bungler.' 

(He then dwells on diagrams and illustrations.) 

' June 5, six o'clock p.m. 

' I have but just got your letter, or should have 
answered it before. For your request — it is fulfilled ; 
for your invitation — I thank you, but cannot accept it ; 
for your orders — they shall be attended to ; for to 
see you — I will come on Tuesday evening ; and for 
want of time — I must conclude, with respects to all 
friends, yours sincerely, 

' M. Faraday.' 

Again, June 11, he writes to Abbott. 

' The most prominent requisite to a lecturer, though 
perhaps not really the most important, is a good delivery ; 
for though to all true philosophers science and nature 
will have charms innumerable in every dress, yet I am 
sorry to say that the generahty of mankind cannot 
accompany us one short hour unless the path is strewed 
with flowers. In order, therefore, to gain the attention 
of an audience (and what can be more disagreeable to 
a lecturer than the want of it ?), it is necessary to pay 
some attention to the manner of expression. The 
utterance should not be rapid and hurried, and con- 
sequently unintelligible, but slow and deliberate, con- 
veying ideas with ease from the lecturer, and infusing 
them with clearness and readiness into the minds of the 
audience. A lecturer should endeavour by all means 
to obtain a facility of utterance, and the power of cloth- 
ing his thoughts and ideas in language smooth and 
harmonious and a t the same time simple and easy. His 


periods should be round, not too long or unequal ; they ^J^^^ 
should be complete and expressive, conveying clearly ^■^- 2I' 
the whole of the ideas intended to be conveyed. If 
they are long, or obscure, or incomplete, they give rise 
to a degree of labour in the minds of the hearers v^rhich 
quickly causes lassitude, indifference, and even disgust. 

' With respect to the action of the lecturer, it is requi- 
site that he should have some, though it does not here 
bear the importance that it does in other branches of 
oratory ; for though I know of no species of delivery 
(divinity excepted) that requires less motion, yet I would 
by no means have a lecturer glued to the table or 
screwed on the floor. He must by all means appear 
as a body distinct and separate from the things around 
him, and must have some motion apart from that which 
they possess. 

' A lecturer should appear easy and collected, un» 
daunted and unconcerned, his thoughts about him, and 
his mind clear and free for the contemplation and de- 
scription of his subject. His action should not be hasty 
and violent, but slow, easy, and natural, consisting prin- 
cipally in changes of the posture of the body, in order 
to avoid the air of stiffness or sameness that would other- 
wise be unavoidable. His Whole behaviour should evince 
respect for his audience, and he should in no case 
forget that he is in their presence. No accident that 
does not interfere with their convenience should dis- 
turb his serenity, or cause variation in his behaviour ; 
he should never, if possible, turn his back on them, but 
should give them full reason to believe that all his 
powers have been exerted for their pleasure and 

' Some lecturers choose to express their thoughts 

VOL. I. F 



^^^^^. extemporaneously immediately as they occur to the 
■^T- 21. mind, whilst others previously arrange them, and 
draw them forth on paper. Those who are of the 
first description are certainly more unengaged, and 
more at liberty to attend to other points of delivery 
than their pages ; but as every person on whom the 
duty falls is not equally competent for the prompt 
clothing and utterance of his matter, it becomes ne- 
cessary that the second method should be resorted to. 
This mode, too, has its advantages, inasmuch as more 
time is allowed for the arrangement of the subject, 
and more attention can be paid to the neatness of 

'But although I allow a lecturer to write out his 
matter, I do not approve of his reading it; at least, 
not as he would a quotation or extract. He should 
deliver it in a ready and free manner, referring to his 
book merely as he would to copious notes, and not 
confining his tongue to the exact path there delineated, 
but digress as circumstances may demand or localities 

'A lecturer should exert his utmost efibrt to gain 
completely the mind and attention of his audience, 
and irresistibly to make them join in his ideas to 
the end of the subject. He should endeavour to raise 
their interest at the commencement of the lecture, 
and by a series of imperceptible gradations, unnoticed 
by the company, keep it alive as long as the subject 
demands it. No breaks or digressions foreign to the 
purpose should have a place in the circumstances of 
the evening ; no opportunity should be allowed to 
the audience in which their minds could wander from 
the subject, or return to inattention and carelessness. 


A flame should be lighted at the commencement, 
and kept alive with unremitting splendour to the 
end. For this reason I very much disapprove of 
breaks in a lecture, and vrhere they can by any 
means be avoided, they should on no account find 
place. If it is unavoidably necessary, to complete the 
arrangement of some experiment, or for other reasons, 
leave some experiments in a state of progression, or 
state some peculiar circumstance, to employ as much 
as possible the minds of the audience during the un- 
occupied space — but, if possible, avoid it. 

'Digressions and wanderings produce more or less 
the bad effects of a complete break or delay in a lec- 
ture, and should therefore never be allowed except in 
very peculiar circumstances ; they take the audience 
from the main subject, and you then have the labour 
of bringing them back again (if possible). 

' For the same reason (namely, that the audience 
should not grow tired), I disapprove of long lectures ; 
one hour is long enough for anyone, nor should they be 
allowed to exceed that time. 

' But I have said enough for once on this subject, and 
must leave it in order to have room for other things. I 
had arranged matters so as to accept your kind in- 
vitation for Sunday, and anticipated much pleasure 
from the meeting, but am disagreeably disappointed, 
circumstances being such as to hinder my seeing you 
at that time. This I much regret, but hope, how- 
ever, to enjoy the full measure of pleasures expected 
at some not far distant time. 

' But farewell, dear A.; for a few days, when you 
shall again hear from yours most sincerely, 

'M. Faraday.' 

T 2 


The last letter to Abbott before lie went abroad is 
dated June 18, 1813. 

' Dear A——, As when on some secluded branch in 
forest far and wide sits perched an owl, who, full of self- 
conceit and self-created wisdom, explains, comments, 
condemns, ordains, and orders things not understood, 
yet full of his importance still holds forth to stocks 
and stones around — so sits and scribbles Mike ; so 
he declaims to walls, stones, tables, chairs, hats, books, 
pens, shoes, and all the things inert that be around 
him, and so he will to the end of the chapter. 

' In compliance with that precept which desires us 
to finish one thing before we begin another, I shall at 
once fall to work on the lecturer, and continue those 
observations which 1 have from time to time both 
made and gained about them. Happy am I to say 
that the fault I shall now notice has seldom met my 
observation, yet, as I have witnessed it, and as it does 
exist, it is necessary to notice it. 

' A lecturer falls deeply beneath the dignity of his 
character when he descends so low as to angle for 
claps, and asks for commendation. Yet have I seen a 
lecturer even at this point. I have heard him cause- 
lessly condemn his own powers. I have heard him 
dwell for a length of time on the extreme care and 
niceness that the experiment he will make requires. 
I have heard him hope for indulgence when no in- 
dulgence was wanted, and I have even heard him 
declare that the experiment now made cannot fail 
from its beauty, its correctness, and its apphcation, to ' 
gain the approbation of all. Yet surely such an error 
in the character of a lecturer cannot require pointing 


out, even to those who resort to it; its impropriety 1813, 
must be evident, and I should perhaps have done well ^'^- 21 
to pass it. 

' Before, however, I quite leave this part of my sub- 
ject, I would wish to notice a point in some manner 
connected with it. In lectures, and more particularly 
experimental ones, it will at times happen that acci- 
dents or other incommoding circumstances take place. 
On these occasions an apology is sometimes necessary, 
but not always. I would wish apologies to be made 
as seldom as possible, and generally, only when the 
inconvenience extends to the company. I have several 
times seen the attention of by far the greater part of 
the audience called to an error by the apology that 
followed it, 

' An experimental lecturer should attend very care- 
fully to the choice he may make of experiments for 
the Ulustration of his subject. They should be im- 
portant, as they respect the science they are applied 
to, yet clear, and such as may easily and generally be 
understood. They should rather approach to simplicity, 
and explain the established principles of the subject, 
than be elaborate, and apply to minute phenomena 
only. I speak here (be it understood) of those lectures 
which are dehvered before a mixed audience, and the 
nature of which will not admit of their being applied 
to the explanation of any but the principal parts of a 
science. If to a particular audience you dwell on a 
particular subject, still adhere to the same principle, 
though perhaps not exactly to the same rule. Let 
your experiments apply to the subject you elucidate, 
do not introduce those which are not to the point. 

' Though this last part of my letter may appear 


1813. superfluous, seeing that the principle is so evident to 
iET.2i. every capacity, yet I assure you, dear A., I have 
seen it broken through in the most violent manner — a 
mere alehouse trick has more than once been intro- 
duced in a lecture, dehvered not far from Pall Mall, as 
an elucidation of the laws of motion. 

' Neither should too much stress be laid upon what 
I would call small experiments, or rather illustrations. 
It pleases me well to observe a neat idea enter the 
head of a lecturer, the which he wiU immediately and 
aptly illustrate or explain by a few motions of his 
hand — a card, a lamp, a glass of water, or any other 
thing that may be by him ; but when he calls your 
attention in a particular way to a decisive experiment 
that has entered his mind, clear and important in its 
application to the subject, and then lets fall a card, I 
turn with disgust from the lecturer and his experi- 
ments. 'Tis weU, too, when the lecturer has the ready 
wit and the presence of mind to turn any casual cir- 
cumstance to an illustration of his subject. Any 
particular circumstance that has become table-talk for 
the town, any local advantages or disadvantages, any 
trivial circumstance that may arise in company, give 
great force to illustrations aptly drawn from them, and 
please the audience highly, as they conceive they 
perfectly understand them. 

' Apt experiments (to which I have before referred) 
ought to be explained by satisfactory theory, or other- 
wise we merely patch an old coat with new cloth, and 
the whole (hole) becomes worse. If a satisfactory theory 
can be given, it ought to be given. If we doubt a re- 
ceived opinion, let us not leave the doubt unnoticed, and 
affirm our own ideas, but state it clearly, and lay down 


also our objections. If the scientific world is divided 
in opinion, state both sides of the question, and let 
each one judge for himself, by noticing the most 
striking and forcible circumstances on each side. Then, 
and then only, shall we do justice to the subject, 
please the audience, and satisfy our honour, the honour 
of a philosopher. I shall here cause a slight separation 
in the subject by closing this epistle, as it is now 
getting late; so I shake hands until to-morrow, at 
which time I hope to find all well, as is at present 

' Yours sincerely, 

' M. Faeaday.' 

When urged by his friend, two years after this, to 
complete his remarks, he said, December 31, ] 816, 
' With respect to my remarks on lectures, I perceive 1 
am but a mere tyro in the art, and therefore you must 
be satisfied with what you have, or expect at some 
future time a recapitulation, or rather revision, of them.' 

The short history of himself which he gave in a letter 
.written on September 13, 1813, to his aunt and uncle, 
because ' he has nothing more to say, and is requested 
by his mother to write the account,' is highly character- 
istic of the man. 

'I was formerly a bookseller and binder, but am 
now turned philosopher, which happened thus : — 
Whilst an apprentice, I, for amusement, learnt a little 
of chemistry and other parts of philosophy, and felt an 
eager desire to proceed in that way further. After 
being a journeyman for six months, under a disagreeable 
master, I gave up my business, and, by the interest of 
Sir H. Davy, filled the situation of chemical assistant 


to the Eoyal Institution of Great Britaia, in which 
office I now remain, and where I am constantly engaged 
in observing the works of Nature and tracing the 
manner in which she directs the arrangement and 
order of the world. I have lately had proposals made 
to me by Sir Humphry Davy to accompany him, in his 
travels through Europe and into Asia, as philosophical 
assistant. If I go at all I expect it will be in October 
next, about the end, and my absence from home will 
perhaps be as long as three years. But as yet all is 
uncertain. I have to repeat that, even though I may 
go, my path wUl not pass near any of my relations, or 
permit me to see those whom I so much long to see.' 

In his notes he says : — ' In the autumn Sir H. Davy 
proposed goiag abroad, and offered me the opportunity 
of going with him as his amanuensis, and the promise 
of resuming my situation in the Institution upon my 
return to England. Whereupon I accepted the offer, 
left the Institution on October 13, and, after being 
with Sh- H. Davy in France, Italy, Switzerland, the 
Tyrol, Geneva, &c., in that and the following year, 
returned to England and London April 23, 1815.' 




The journey of Faraday abroad with Sir H. Davy was 
one of the few episodes that occurred in his hfe. It 
lasted only one year and a half. 

During this time he kept a journal, and wrote letters 
to his mother, sisters, and friends ; chiefly, however, to 

The journal, of which only some extracts are here 
given, is remarkable for the minuteness of the descrip- 
tion of all he saw, and for its cautious silence regarding 
those he was v?ith. It gives, however, fall details regard- 
ing Sir H, Davy's scientific work. He says he wrote it, 
' not to instruct or to inform, or to convey even an im- 
perfect idea of what it speaks ; its sole use is to recall 
to my mind at some future time the things I see now, 
and the most effectual way to do that will be, I con- 
ceive, to write down, be they good or bad, my present 

The letters are full of the warmth of his affection, 
the sensitiveness of his feeling, and the earnestness of 
his desire for self-improvement. 

In one of his first letters to his mother he says, ' The 
first and last thing in my mind is England, home, and 


friends. It is the point to which my thoughts still 
ultimately tend, the goal to which, looking over inter- 
mediate things, my eyes are stiU directed. . . Whenever 
a vacant hour occurs, I employ it by thinking of those 
at home. Whenever present circumstances are disagree- 
able, I amuse myself by thinking of those at home. 
In short, when sick, when cold, when tired, the 
thoughts of those at home are a warm and refreshing 
balm to my heart . . . these are the first and greatest 
sweetness in the Hfe of man.' 

His desire for improvement is seen in another letter 
which he writes later to his mother : ' I am almost con- 
tented except with my ignorance, which becomes more 
visible to me every day, though I endeavour as much 
as possible to avoid it.' 

On this subject also he writes to his friend, ' I have 
several times been more than half decided to return 
hastily home, but second thoughts have still induced 
me to try what the future may produce, and now I am 
only retained by the wish of improvement. I have 
learned just enough to perceive my ignorance, and, 
ashamed of my defects in everything, I wish to seize 
the opportunity of remedying them. The little know- 
ledge I have gained in languages makes me wish to 
know more of them, and the little I have seen of men 
and manners is just enough to make me desirous of see- 
ing more. Added to which, the glorious opportunity I 
enjoy of improving in the knowledge of chemistry and 
the sciences continually determines me to finish this 
voyage with Sir Humphry Davy.' 

To his married sister he thus shows his afiection: 
' I shall never feel quite happy until I get amongst you 
again. I have a thousand things to say, but I do not 


know which to say first ; and if I followed my mind, I 
should never get to an end.' 

And in his last letter to his mother from Brussels, 
he says, ' I have a thousand times endeavoured to fancy 
a meeting with you and my relations and friends, and 
I am sure I have as often failed — the reality must be a 
pleasure not to be imagined nor to be described . . . My 
thoughts wander from one to another, my pen runs on 
by fits and starts ... I do not know what to say, and 
yet I cannot put an end to my letter. I would fain be 
talking to you, but I must cease ... It is the 
shortest, and to me the sweetest, letter I ever wrote 

Faraday began his foreign journal thus : — 

Wednesday, October 12>th. — This morning formed a 
new epoch in my life. I have never before, within 
my recollection, left London at a greater distance than 
twelve miles; and now I leave it perhaps for many 
years, and to visit spots between which and home 
whole realms will intervene. 'Tis indeed a strange 
venture at this time, to trust ourselves in a foreign and 
hostile country, where also so little regard is had to 
protestations and honour, that the slightest suspicion 
would be sufficient to separate us for ever from Eng- 
land, and perhaps from life. But curiosity has fre- 
quently incurred dangers as great as these, and there- 
fore why should I wonder at it in the present instance ? 
If we return safe, the pleasures of recollection will be 
highly enhanced by the dangers encountered ; and a 
never-faihng consolation is, that whatever be the fate 
of our party, variety, a great source of amusement and 
pleasure, must occur. 


.1813. Friday, 15iA.— Beached Plymouth this afternoon. I 
^T. 22. was more taken by the scenery to-day than by any- 
thing else I have ever seen. It came upon me unes- 
pectedly, and caused a kind of revolution in my ideas 
respecting the nature of the earth's surface. That ►uch 
a revolution was necessary is, I confess, not much to 
my credit ; and yet I can assign to myself a very satis- 
factory reason, in the habit of ideas induced by an 
acquaintance with no other green surface than that 
within three miles of London. Devonshire, however, 
presented scenery very different to this ; the mountain- 
ous nature of the country continually put forward new 
forms and objects, and the landscape changed before 
the eye more rapidly than the organ could observe it. 
This day gave me some ideas of the pleasures of travel- 
ling, and has raised my expectations of future enjoyment 
to a very high point. 

Monday, ISth. — I last night had a fine opportunity 
of observing the luminous appearance of the sea, and 
was amused by it for a long time. As the prow of the. 
vessel met the waters, it seemed to turn up a vast 
number of luminous bodies about the size of peas, 
some, however, being larger than others. These ap- 
peared to roll onwards by the side of the vessel with 
the waters, and sometimes traversed a distance of many 
yards before they disappeared. They were luminous 
at or beneath the surface of the water indifierently, 
and the only efiect produced by different depths was a 
diminution of the light by the quantity of intervening 
medium. These luminous spots were very numerous 
— the most so, I think, about half an hour after mid- 
night : their light was very bright and clear. 

The swell of the sea was very considerable all night. 


though gradually decreasing. I remained on deck and 
escaped all sea-sickness. As day came on and the light 
increased, we looked about us, but saw nothing in the 
scene except sky and immense waves striding one after 
the other at a considerable distance. These as they 
came to us lifted up our small vessel, and gave us, when 
on their summits, a very extended horizon : but we soon 
sank down into the valleys between them, and had 
nothing in view but the wall of waters around us. 

Tuesday l^th. — As soon as day was well introduced 
our vessel moved, and, passing the cartel which stands 
at the mouth of the harbour (of Morlaix) to defend it, 
moved up the long a.nd perplexed passage. We here 
had our first view of France, and it was not at all cal- 
culated to impress a stranger with a high opinion of 
the country, though perhaps regret for home may in- 
fluence first feelings. I was in hopes of going on shore, 
but understood that no one could leave the ship until 
the arrival of an officer to examine us. Late in the 
afternoon the mighty man of office came, attended by 
several understrappers and a barge full of Frenchmen, 
apparently beggars and porters. A formal examina- 
tion then ensued. One of the officers came to me, and, 
taking my hat off, he first searched it, and then laid it on 
the deck ; he then felt my pockets, my breast, my sides, 
my clothes, and, lastly, desired to look into my shoes ; 
after which! was permitted to pass. A similar ceremony 
was performed on all the strangers ; and though I felt 
surprised at such a singular reception, I could hardly 
help laughing at the ridiculous nature of their precau- 
tions. Our English sailors looked on with pity and 
indignation, which was not diminished by the seizure 
of some letters written in the harbour, and given to the 


1813. captain of the cartel to be conveyed back to Plymouth, 
Ml. 22. and by the post to our friends in London. These let- 
ters, however, were all seized and conveyed to Morlaix, 
and we were not allowed to write home of our arrival 

The various parts of the carriage, the boxes, packages, 
&c., being placed on deck, word was given, and imme- 
diately the crew of Frenchmen poured on them, and 
conveyed them in every direction, and by the most 
awkward and irregular means, into the barge alongside, 
and this with such an appearance of hurry and bustle, 
such an air of business and importance, and yet so in- 
effectually, that sometimes nine or ten men would be 
round a thing of a hundred pounds' weight, each most 
importantly employed ; and yet the thing would re- 
main immoveable until the crew were urged by their 
officer or pushed by the cabin boy. At last all was 
placed in the barge, and then leave was given to the 
cartel to return. And certainly it was with no plea- 
surable feelings I beheld myself separated from my 
countrymen, that I saw them returning, and felt con- 
scious of the tyrannical and oppressive laws and man- 
ners of the people in whose hands we remained. But 
tilings being as they were, I endeavoured to content 
and amuse myself by looking out for variety in the 
manners of the people round me. 

Wednesday 20th. — The officers had permitted us to 
take out of the seat-boxes, &c., in their presence, what 
was absolutely necessary for the night, and in the 
morning we went to claim the rest. I found the car- 
riage, &c., in the barge just as they had been left, and 
an officer still there. The douane was not yet open, 
and we had to wait patiently, or otherwise, for some 


time, looking on our things, but not daring to touch 
them. At last business commenced. The officers having 
arranged themselves on the edge of the quay, some 
thirty or forty inhabitants of the town ran and tumbled 
down the steps, and leaping into the barge, seized, some 
one thing, some another, and conveyed them to the 
landing-place above. This sight alone was a curious 
one, for they being totally destitute of all method and 
regularity, it seemed as if a parcel of thieves were 
scampering away with what was not their own. The 
body of the carriage was the part which most embar- 
rassed them, for as there were no cranes or any sub- 
stitute for them on the quay, it was necessary that mere 
hand labour should perform the important task of rais- 
ing it to the place above. This was an effort of great 
magnitude, but they manfully surmounted it, and our 
fears of seeing the carriage resigned to its fate at the 
bottom of the stairs were fortunately unfounded. 

All this being done, these gentry formed a ring, and 
the officers began their work. All the boxes and pack- 
ages, even to the tool-chest, were taken out and conveyed 
into the house ; and then, some getting inside and some 
mounting outside, they searched all the corners and 
crannies for what they could find, and thumped over 
every part of the carriage to discover hollow and secret 
places. Finding nothing like concealment, they entered 
the house, and began to operate on the trunks ; and as 
they were disappointed in their hopes of booty from 
the carriage they seemed determined to make up for 
their loss here. Package after package was opened, 
roll after roll unfolded, each pair of stockings unwrapped, 
and each article of apparel shaken ; but still being dis- 
appointed in their hopes of a pretext for seizure, they at 


last laid claim to two or three dozen of cotton stockings 
because they were new, and it was long before the 
arguments of their being necessary for a long journey, 
and of their being marked, were sufficient to induce 
them to render them up again. At last the business 
ended with everything in the possession of the rightful 
owners, and a gift to the officers for their polite atten- 

As soon as the esamlnatlon was concluded, leave was 
given for the carriage to be put together and the goods 
replaced in it. The first set of men now found work 
again ; and I was astonished how, with their poor means 
and their want of acquaintance with such affairs, they 
were still able to get it in order. 'Tis true they made 
the job appear a mighty one, but they got through it ; 
and after having exclaimed levez I leves / for an hour or 
two everything was in a movable state; and horses 
being tied to, we proceeded in order to the hotel. 

I shall l-efrain from making comments upon this 
peculiar examination, except to remark, that if variety 
be one of the traveller's pleasures, we have certainly 
enjoyed a very high one this morning, for the whole 
affair was so different to anything that I had before 
witnessed that I cannot possibly charge it with a mono- 
tonous effect : the occurrence was one which will ever 
make this day signal in my remembrance. 

Thursday, 21st. — I will endeavour to describe our 
hotel. This, the best in the place, has but one entrance, 
and it is paved in a manner similar to the street : through 
it pass, indiscriminately, horses, pigs, poultry, human 
beings, or whatever else has a connection with the house 
or the stables and pigsties behind it. On the right hand 
of the passage, and equally public as a thoroughfare 


with it, is the kitchen : here a fire of wood is generally 
surrounded by idlers, beggars or nondescripts of the 
town, who meet to warm themselves and chatter to the 
mistress ; and they hold their stations most tenaciously, 
though the processes of cooking are in progress. I 
think it is impossible for an English person to eat the 
things that come out of this place except through 
ignorance or actual and oppressive hunger; and yet 
perhaps appearances may be worse than the reahty, for 
in some cases their dishes are to the taste excellent and 
inviting, but then they require, whilst on the table, a 
dismissal of all thoughts respecting the cookery or 

Friday, 22nd. — The postilion deserves a paragraph 
to himself. He is mostly a young, always a lively, man. 
His dress, with the exception of his boots and that part 
which covers his head, varies infinitely, but hairy jackets 
appear to be frequent as outer garments, and they are 
often finely ornamented ; at other times the dress seems 
to be a kind of uniform, being at many postliouses to- 
gether of one colour, and turned up at the edge with 
another. The first pair of jack-boots that I saw came 
out of the kitchen at the hotel at Morlaix ; for as it is 
almost impossible for a man when in them to move 
about by his own exertions, the postilion had left them 
in the above-named place until all was arranged at the 
carriage ; but then he used his reserved strength, and 
showed them off in a walk from the fireside to the 
horses. They appeared like two very large cyHnders 
of leather terminated at the end by purses for tlie feet ; 
they rose about six inches above the knee, and were 
cut away at the back part to admit the uee of that joint. 
Their external diameter was about seven inches, but the 

VOL. I. G 


1813. cavities within were not much too large for the legs. 
"jEr. 22?' The sides of the boots consisted of two or three folds of 
strong leather sewed together, and stuffed on the inside 
with wool to the thickness of three-quarters of an inch 
and sometimes more, and the lower part, or foot, not 
being stuffed in the same way, was much smaller in 
proportion, though, being still too large, it was made 
perfect by a wisp of straw. The weight of a pair of 
jack-boots varies between fourteen and twenty pounds 
generally. These boots are sometimes moved about by 
the postilions independent of the exertions of the horses, 
and then an enormous pair of stirrups are hung to the 
saddle to sustain them in riding. At other times they 
are attached to the saddle by straps, and the postilion 
jumps on to his horse and into them at the same time. 
The use of them, according to the wearers, is to save 
their legs from being broken should the horses stumble 
or the carriage be overturned ; and though a traveller 
must laugh at the sight of such clumsy things, there is 
not much amusement in the idea that the people who 
best know their horses and drivers consider such a pre- 
caution constantly necessary. 

Other appendages to the postilion are the whip and 
the tobacco pouch. The first is a most tremendous 
weapon to dogs, pigs, and little children. With a 
handle of about thirty inches, it has a thong of six to 
eight feet in length, and it is constantly in a state of 
violent vibratory motion over the heads of the horses, 
giving rise to a rapid succession of stunning sounds. The 
second is generally a bag, though sometimes a pocket, 
exclusively appropriated, answers the purpose. It con- 
tains tobacco, a short pipe, a flint, a steel, German 
tinder, and sometimes a few varieties. To this the 


postilion has constant recurrence, and whilst jogging on 
will light his pipe and smoke it out successively for 
several hours. 

Sunday, 2ith. — This evening I for the first time saw 
a glowworm. The night was very dark (about seven 
o'clock), and one of our horses had tumbled over. This 
accident destroyed the traces ; and whilst the postilion 
was renovating them, I saw the httle insect by its hght 
among the horses' feet in the middle of the road. Two 
small luminous spots were visible upon it, but the light 
was very weak. I picked the worm up, and secured it 
until we were again in a moving state, and then amused 
half an hour by observing its appearance. The lights 
had disappeared, but soon became visible, and then 
showed a varying intensity for some minutes, but soon 
entirely disappeared. On examining it afterwards at 
Eennes, I found it to be a small black worm not three- 
quarters of an inch in length, and having no part 
particularly distinguished as that which had been lumi- 
nous. It was dead, and must have been in a very weak 
state when I found it. 

Thursday, 28th, — Drieux. I cannot help dashing a 
note of admiration to one thing found in this part of the 
country — the pigs ! At first I was positively doubtful of 
their nature, for though they have pointed noses, long 
ears, rope-like tails, and cloven feet, yet who would have 
imagined that an animal with a long thin body, back 
and belly arched upwards, lank sides, long slender feet, 
and capable of outrunning our horses for a mile or two 
together, could be at all allied to the fat sow of Eng- 
land ? When I first saw one, which was at Morlaix, it 
started so suddenly, and became so active in its motions 
on being disturbed, and so dissimilar in its actions to 



our swine, that I looked out for a second creature of 
the same kind before I ventured to decide on its being 
a regular animal or an extraordinary production of 
nature ; but I find that they are all alike, and that 
what at a distance I should judge to be a greyhound 
I am obliged, on a near approach, to acknowledge a 


Friday, 29th. — Paris. I am here in the most unlucky 

and irritating circumstances possible. Set down in the 
heart of Paris — that spot so desiringly looked after, 
so vainly too, from a distance by numbers of my 
countrymen. I know nothing of the language or of a 
single being here ; added to which the people are ene- 
mies, and they are vain. My only mode will be to stalk 
about the town, looking and looked at hke a man in 
the monkish catacombs. My mummies move, how- 
ever, and they see with their eyes, I must exert 
myself to attain their language so as to join in their 

Saturday, ZOth. — I saw the Galerie Napoleon to-day, 
but I scarcely know what to say of it. It is both the 
glory and the disgrace of France. As being itself, and 
as containing specimens of those things which proclaim 
the power of man, and which point out the high 
degree of refinement to whidi he has risen, it is un- 
surpassed, unequalled, and must call forth the highest 
and most unqualified admiration ; but when memory 
brings to mind the manner in which the works came 
here, and views them only as the gains of violence 
and rapine, she blushes for the people that even now 
glory in an act that made them a nation of thieves. 

The museum contains paintings, statues, pieces of 
sculpture and casting, of which by far the greater 


number have been brought from Italy — ^tliey are the 
works of the old and most eminent masters, and it is 
a collection of chefs d'ceuvre. The statues are arranged 
in the lower part of the Louvre, in many salons of 
great magnificence. There are amongst them the 
Apollo, the Laocoon, the Venus de' Medici, the Heracles, 
the Gladiator dying, and many more of the finest 
pieces of the ancient Greek masters. 

Tuesday, Nov. 2nd. — The streets of Paris are paved 
with equality — that is to say, no difference is made in 
them between men and beasts, and no part of the street 
is appropriated to either ; add to this that the stones of 
which the pavement consists are very small and sharp 
to the foot, and I think much more need not be said in 
praise of it. At this season, also, besides the pain 
caused by this sort of pavement, an additional incon- 
venience arises from it ; for though in fine weather a 
walker may make up his mind to skip across a street 
half a dozen times in the length of it, to avoid the 
carriages that drive down upon him, and from which 
he has no other means of saving himself, yet when, in 
frosty weather, the sink has become choked up, and 
the street is overflowed by the never-ceasing fountain, 
he feels averse to plunge himself into a pond though 
to save himself from a carriage ; and when he does do 
so, he generally adds energy to the desperation required 
by an exclamation. 

Tuesday, 9th. — I went to-day to La Prefecture de 
Police for a passport, for it is not allowed to any but an 
inhabitant of Paris, and whose name is registered as 
such, to be in the city without one. I found the place 
out on the bank of the river — an enormous building 
containing an infinity of offices ; and it Avas only by 


paying for information that I found out the one I 
wanted. On entering it I beheld a large chamber 
containing about twenty clerks with enormous books 
before them, and a great number of people on the 
outside of the tables, all of whom came on business 
respecting passports. Mine was a peculiar case, and 
soon gained attention, for, excepting Sir H. Davy's, 
there was not another free Englishman's passport down 
in the books. An American, who was there and 
(perceiving me at a loss for French) had spoken to me, 
would scarcely believe his senses when he saw them 
make out the paper for a free Englishman, and would 
willingly have been mighty inquisitive. After having 
numbered the passport, and described me in their 
books with a round chin, a brown beard, a large 
mouth, a great nose, &c. &c., they gave me the paper 
and let me go. 

It was a call upon all magistrates and authorities to 
respect, aid, &c. ; but the article which pleased me most, 
as having a great appearance of liberality, was that, as 
a stranger who had not always opportunities, I was 
to be admitted, on showing the paper, to all public 
property — as museums, libraries — on any day, though 
the public are admitted to many of them but two or 
three times a week. 

Sunday, \^th. — I went this morning into some of the 
churches, but was not induced to stop long in any of 
them. It could hardly be expected that they would 
have attractions for a tasteless heretic. Some of them 
were very large and finely ornamented inside, and 
more particularly the altars. Gold shone in abundance, 
and the altar-pieces or pictures were by the best 
masters. Masses were performing in many of them. 


sometimes two or more in one church at different 1813. 
altars, though at the same time. There were many -^t. 22. 
people in some of them, but numbers seemed, like me, 
to be gazers. A theatrical air spread through the 
whole, and I found it impossible to attach a serious or 
important feeling to what was going on. 

Tuesday, 23rcZ.— MM. Ampere, Clement, and Des- 
ormes came this morning to show Sir H. Davy a new 
substance, discovered, about two years ago, by M. 
Courtois, saltpetre manufacturer. The process by 
which it is obtained is not yet publicly known. It is 
said to be procured from a very common substance, 
and in considerable quantities. 

A very permanent and remarkable property of this 
substance is, that when heated it rises in vapour of a 
deep violet colour. This experiment was shown by 
the French chemists, and also the precipitation of 
nitrate of silver by its solution in alcohol. Sir Hum- 
phry Davy made various experiments on it with his 
travelling apparatus, and from them he is inclined to 
consider it as a compound of chlorine and an unknown 

It was in small scales with a shining lustre, colour 
deep violet, almost black ; its appearance was very like 
plumbago. When sublimed it condensed again, tin- 
altered, into crystals. A very gentle heat is sufficient 
to volatihse a portion of it, for when the bottle con- 
taining it was held in the hand, the interior soon 
became of a violet colour. It dissolves very readily 
in alcohol, and forms a solution of a deep brown 
colour, which precipitates nitrate of silver, and a 
portion of the precipitate laid on paper in the sun's 
light was rapidly discoloured. When a portion of it 


^813. -vvas rubbed with zinc filings in contact with the atmo- 
^T. 22. sphere, a fluid combination was formed. When treated 
with potassium in a glass tube, they combined with 
inflammation. When it was heated in contact with 
phosphorus, a strong action took place, and an inflam- 
mable gas came over. On removing the retort from the 
mercurial apparatus, dense fumes issued from it, whicli 
seemed to be muriatic acid ; they had the same odour, 
and precipitated nitrate of silver in the same way. 
When the iodine was placed in contact with mercury, 
a combination was gradually formed, which, on being 
heated, became first orange-coloured, then black, and 
at last red. 

Unfortunately for me, I as yet know nothing of the 
language, or I should have learned much more con- 
cerning this singular substance ; but thus I have marked 
down most of its principal characters. A future day 
may produce something further about it ; Sir Hum- 
phry Davy now thinks it contains no chlorine. 

Wednesday, 24cth. — Being indoors all day, I amused 
myself by noticing in what the apartments we occupy 
difier from English rooms. The most striking difierence 
in this cold weather is in the fires and fireplaces. Wood 
is the universal fuel. 

Charcoal is the usual fuel of the kitchens, and 
almost the whole of the business done on the Seine 
is with that article. The river is divided between it 
and the washerwomen. 

In the internal decoration of apartments the French 
apply glass and marble, two beautiful materials, in 
much greater abundance than the English do. In 
brass working, also, they have risen to great perfection, 
and their application of this material to the construe- 


tion of ornamental time-pieces is exceedingly ingenious 
and beautiful. 

Prench apartments are magnificent, English apart- 
ments are comfortable ; French apartments are highly- 
ornamented, English apartments are clean ; French 
apartments are to be seen, English apartments enjoyed; 
and the style of each kind best suits the people of the 
respective countries. 

Saturday, 21th. — A. short search in the booksellers' 
shops gave me a little idea of the state of the trade in 
Paris. My object was a French and English grammar; 
but they were scarce, not owing to a want of books 
in general, but to a want of communication between 
the two nations. I at last found one composed for 
Americans, and that answered my purpose. Stereotype 
printing is in great vogue here, and they have many 
small books beautifully done. The French type is 
squarer and more distinct than the English. 

Books are very cheap here in proportion to English 
books ; I should think, on an average, they are scarcely 
half the price, and yet large private libraries are 
seldom met with. Bibliomania is a disease apparently 
not known in France ; indeed, it is difficult to conceive 
how their light airy spirits could be subjected to it. 

Wednesday, Dec. \st. — On this and the preceding day 
Sir H. Davy made many new experiments on the sub- 
stance discovered by M. Courtois 

M. CMment has lately read a paper on it at the 
Institute, in which he says it is procured from the ashes 
of sea- weeds by lixiviation and treatment with sulphuric 
acid : he conceives it to be a new supporter of com- 

The discovery of this .substance, in matters so common 


^_1813. and supposed so well known, must be a stimulus of no 
iET. 22. small force to the inquiring minds of modern chemists. 
It is a proof of the imperfect state of the science even 
in those parts considered as completely understood. 
It is an earnest of the plentiful reward that awaits the 
industrious cultivator of this the most extensive branch 
of experimental knowledge. It adds in an eminent 
degree to the beautiful facts that abound in it, and 
presents another wide field for the exercise of the 
mind. Every chemist will regard it as an addition of 
no small magnitude to his knowledge, and as the fore- 
runner of a grand advance in chemistry. 

Friday, ^rd. — I went to-day to the laboratory of M. 
Chevreul, at the Jardin des Plantes, with Sir H. Davy, 
where we remained some time at work on the new 
substance. I observed nothing particular in this 
laboratory, either as different to the London laboratories 
or as peculiarly adapted to the performance of processes 
or experiments. It was but a small place, and perhaps 
only part of the establishment appropriated to chem- 

Wednesday, 8th. — I went to-day with Sir H. Davy to 
L'Ecole Polytechnique, the national school of chemistry, 
to hear the leqon given to the scholars. It was de- 
livered by M. Gay-Lussac to about two hundred 
pupils. The subject was vapour, and treated of its 
formation, electricity, compressibility, &c. Distillation 
both by heat and cold was introduced. It was illus- 
trated by rough diagrams and experiments, and occu- 
pied about an hour. My knowledge of French is so 
httle I coidd hardly make out the lecture, and without 
the experiments I should have been entirely at a loss. 


' Thursday, December 9, 1813. Received June 4, 1814. 

' Dear Mother, — I write at this time in hopes of an 
opportunity of shortly sending a letter to you by a 
person who is now here, but who expects soon to part for 
England. It has been impossible for me to write before 
since we have been in France, but you will have heard 
of me from Mr. Brande, and I expect also from Mrs. 
Farquhar. I feel very anxious to know how you are 
situated in your house, and the state of your health, 
but see no mode at present by which you can convey 
the desired information except by Mr. Brande. Sir 
Humphry told me that when Mr. B. wrote to him 
he would send in the same letter an account of your 
health, and I expect it impatiently. It would be of no 
use to write a long letter, as it is most probable it would 
not reach you. We are at present at Paris, but leave it 
shortly for the south of France, and Lyons wiU be our 
next resting-place. . . . 

' I could say much more, but nothing of importance ; 
and as a short letter is more likely to reach you than a 
long one, I wiU only desire to be remembered to 
those before mentioned, not forgetting Mr. Eiebau, and 
tell them they must conceive all I wish to say. 

' Dear Mother, I am, with all affection, your dutiful 


'M. Faraday. 

' Mra. M. Faraday, 18 Weymouth Street, Portland Place.' 

The journal continues thus : — 

Saturday, Dec. 11th. — Sir Humphry Davy had oc- 
casion to-day for a voltaic pile to make experiments on 


the new substance now called iodine, and I obtained one 
from M. Chevreui 

Saturday, l%th. — This was an important day. The 
emperor has just visited the senate in full state. The 
weather has been very bad ; but that did not prevent 
me and thousands more from going to see the show. I 
went, about twelve o'clock, to the Tuileries Gardens, 
and took my station on the terrace, as being the best 
place then vacant. After waiting some time, and getting 
wet through, the trumpet announced the procession. 
Many guards and many oiEcers of the court passed us 
before the emperor came up, but at last he appeared 
in sight. He was sitting in one corner of his carriage, 
covered and almost hidden from sight by an enormous 
robe of ermine, and his face overshadowed by a tremen- 
dous plume of feathers that descended from a velvet 
hat. The distance was too great to distinguish the 
features well, but he seemed of a dark countenance 
and somewhat corpulent. His carriage was very rich, 
and fourteen servants stood upon it in various parts. 
A numerous guard surrounded him. The empress 
and a great number of courtiers, &c., followed in other 
carriages. No acclamation was heard where I stood, 
and no comments. 

Tuesday, list. — I am quite out of patience with the 
infamous exorbitance of these Parisians ; they seem 
to have neither sense of honesty nor shame in their 
deahngs. They will ask you twice the value of a thing, 
with as much coolness as if they were going to give it 
you; and when you have offered them half their demand, 
and, on their accepting it, you reproach them with un- 
fair dealings, they tell you ■' you can afford to pay.' It 
would seem that every tradesman here is a rogue. 


unless they have different meanings for words to what 
we have. 

I was very much amused, for half an hour this morn- 
ing, in observing the operation and business of a noted 
shoeblack at the corner of the passage running under 
the theatre (Eeydeau, I think). The shop has two 
entrances ; the interval between is w^ell glazed, and 
preserved in as neat order as the windows of a coffee 
house. Along the back of .the shop run benches 
covered with cushions : they are four or five feet from the 
ground, and a foot board runs at a convenient distance 
beneath them. When a customer enters he takes his 
exalted seat, and generally a newspaper (two or three 
lying constantly in the shop), and a spruce shopman 
immediately makes his feet look the best part about 
him. The place is well lighted up; and the price of all 
these enjoyments, for a soft seat, news, brilliant boots, 
&c., is ' what you please ! ' 

Wednesday, 2dth. — This morning we left Paris, after a 
residence in it of three months, and prepared ourselves 
for new objects and new scenes. The morning was 
fine, but very cold and frosty ; but on entering the 
forest of Fontainebleau we did not regret the severity of 
the weather, for I do not think I ever saw a more 
beautiful scene than that presented to us on the road. 
A thick mist which had fallen during the night, and 
which had scarcely cleared away, had, by being frozen, 
dressed every visible object in a garment of wonderful 
airiness and delicacy. Every small twig and every 
blade of herbage was encrusted by a splendid coat of 
hoar frost, the crystals of which in most cases extended 
above half an inch. This circumstance, instead of 
causing a sameness, as might have been expected, pro- 



^813. duced an endless variety of shades and forms — openings 
^T. 22. in the foreground placed far-removed objects in view 
which, in their airy dress and softened by distance, 
appeared as clouds fixed by the hands of an enchanter; 
then rocks, hiUs, valleys, streams, and woods; then a 
milestone, a cottage, or human beings, came into the 
moving landscape, and rendered it ever new and de- 
lightful. We slept this night at ISTemours. 

Thursday, 30?A. — Though cold and dark, we were 
on our way to Moulins by five o'clock this morning ; 
and though somewhat more south than London, yet 
I do not perceive any superior character in the winter 
mornings here. However, as we always judge worse 
of a bad thing when it is present than at any other 
time, I may have been too cross with the cold and 
dark character of our early hours. The moon had set 
— a circumstance to be regretted, for though assisted 
only by the faintness of starlight, yet I am sure our 
road was beautiful: 'twas along the banks of the river 
within a few yards of the water, which indeed at times 
came to our horses' feet. On our left was a series of 
small hills and valleys hghtly wooded, and varied now 
and then by clustering habitations. These dark hours, 
however, have their pleasures, and those are not slight 
which are furnished at such times by the memory or 
the imagination. I have often regretted the interrup- 
tion caused by the change of horses, or the mending of 
broken harness. 'Tis pleasant to state almost audibly 
to the mind the novelty of present circumstances — that 
the Loire is on my right hand, that the houses to the 
left contain men of another country to myself, that it 
is French ground that I am passing over ; and then to 
think of the distance between myself and those who 


alone feel an interest for me, and to enjoy the feeling 
of independence and superiority we at present possess 
over those sleeping around us. We seem tied to no 
spot, confined by no circumstances, at all hours, at all 
seasons, and in all places we move with freedom — our 
world seems extending and our existence enlarged ; we 
seem to fly over the globe, rather like satellites to it 
than parts of it, and mentally take possession of every 
spot we go over. 

Saturday, Jan. 8th. — Eeached Montpellier to-day at 
a very good hour, about two o'clock. The weather 
has been very cold and frosty all the morning, more so 
I think than at any time before this winter, but the 
sky is beautifully clear and brilliant. We have passed 
many olive plantations, and are now in a country 
famous for fine oil. I beheve we shall remain here 
some time, and have opportunity to notice the country. 
The town seems to be very pretty ; but the hotel we 
are in must not be compared to that at Lyons, except 
for good oil, and wine, and good-nature in all the per- 
sons in it. 

Wednesday, Feb. 2nd. — Since we have been here. 
Sir Humphry has continued to work very closely on 
iodine. He has been searching for it in several of the 
plants that grow in the Mediterranean, but has not 
obtained certain evidence of its presence. If it exists 
in them at all it is in very minute quantities, and it will 
be scarcely possible to detect it. 

Sunday, 6th. — The Pope passed through this place 
a few days ago, on his way to Italy. He has just been 
set at hberty. The good Catholics have, in expectation 
of his coming, been talking of his sufferings and troubles 
for many days past, and at every hour felt their 



curiosity and devotion rise higher. At last be came, 
not to stop in the town, as was supposed, but merely 
to pass by the outside of it. Early in the morning the 
road was well peopled, and before ten o'clock almost 
every person in the town was there but myself. They 
say he was received in a very pathetic manner, and 
with a multitude of sighs, tears, and groans. Some 
people accompanied him for miles from the town, and 
some had in the morning gone many miles to meet 

Thursday, 17 th. — Left Nice this morning, and ad- 
vanced towards the Alps by a road on the sides of 
which were gardens with oranges and lemons in great 
profusion. We soon entered among the mountains: 
they were of limestone stratified very regularly, and 
appearing at a distance like stairs. At some distance 
up we came to a place where the strata for many yards 
consisted of smaU pieces of limestone an inch in size, 
more or less cemented together by carbonate of lime. 
Varieties occurred here and there, and in these places 
the cement had taken a stalactite form. A dropping 
well added to the variety of objects, and, appearing in 
a very picturesque situation, added much to the beauty 
of the scene. 

Saturday, 19th. — Col de Tende. Eose this morning 
at daybreak, which was much advanced at half-past 
five o'clock, and made preparations for crossing the 
great mountain, or Col de Tende. At Tende the noble 
road, which had given such facile and ready convey- 
ance, finished, and it was necessary to prepare for 
another sort of travelling. Expecting it would be very 
cold, I added to my ordinary clothing an extra waist- 
coat, two pairs of stockings, and a nightcap : these, with 


a pair of very strong thick shoes and leathern overalls, 
I supposed would be sufficient to keep me warm. 

About nine o'clock, horses were put to the carriage, 
and we proceeded towards the mountain by a road 
which, though not so good as the one we passed, was 
by no means bad, and still continued by the river of 
yesterday. On each side were extensive plains covered 
with snow to a great depth, but sufficiently hard and 
solid to support the men who accompanied, or rather 
who guided, us as they walked upon it. 

There were at present but two of these persons, the 
chief and one of the sixty-five composing the band. 
They walked on before, whistling and helping ; and 
the scene, so strange and singular to us, never attracted 
their attention, unless to point out to us the site of an 
avalanche or a dangerous place. 

There was something pleasant in the face and ap- 
pearance of the chief, and I thought him a good speci- 
men of the people here. He was a tall man, not at all 
thick, but his flesh seemed all muscle and strength. 
His dress consisted of few articles — trowsers, a loose 
waistcoat, an open jacket, a hairy cap, very heavy-soled 
shoes, and coarse gaiters, or overalls, tied round his 
shoes to keep out the snow. This was all his clothing, 
and I found his comrades just like him. His gait was 
very pecuhar, contracted, I suppose, by walking con- 
stantly on the snow, where a firm footing is required. 

The road began to change soon after leaving Tende, 
and at last became nothing but ice. It was now fit for 
beasts of burden only : grooves had been formed in it 
at equal distances to receive the feet of the horses or 
mules, and prevent their falHng ; and though convenient 
to them, it was to us a great evil, for as the wheels 

VOL. I. H 


fell successively into the ruts, it produced a motion not 
only disagreeable, but very dangerous to the carriage. 
Sir H. Davy here pointed out to me the rocks of 
micaceous schist, and I learned at the same time that 
granite is always found under this rock. The only 
vegetation visible, though there might be much under 
the snow, was of pine trees. They lifted their verdant 
tops above the snow, and in many places broke the 
monotony of a white landscape. Having passed some 
distance on this road, we were suddenly stopped by the 
wheels being entangled in the snow, which was full 
two-and-a-half feet high on each side of our way ; and it 
was a work of no small labour to disengage them again. 
Having at last got free, we again pursued our route. 
The day was fine and clear, and the sun darted his 
burning rays with much force upon us, so as even to 
make us throw off our great coats ; and though here 
encompassed by fields of snow and ice, they did not, 
apparently, produce any coohng effects, but seemed 
merely to increase the splendour of a brilliant day. 
Eocks here granite. 

We were now joined by four or five of the gang, who 
had advanced to meet us and to give aid, if necessary, 
on the road ; and in about half an hour afterwards we 
came to a halt, and the end of the carriage road. Here 
on an open space the rest of the men who were to 
conduct and convey us and the baggage over the moun- 
tain were collected, and the scene was a very pretty 
subject for the pencil. On one side lay three or fom' 
traineaux, or sledges, and further on two chaises-a- 
porteur, or chairs mounted on sledges. Many men were 
engaged in unloading and reloading mules that had 
come over the mountains ; and at some distance I saw 


a person coming down who had crossed from the other 
side, and who had two men to sustain him. This made 
me suppose that the passage was a very bad one, and, 
as I intended to walk to preserve some httle warmth, 
raised my expectations in no small degree. 

The horses being taken off, all hands worked to dis- 
mount the carriage and charge the traineaux, and after 
some time this was done. The pieces of the carriage 
were placed on two sledges, and the rest, as the wheels, 
boxes, &c., loaded five mules. In this place the baro- 
meter stood at 27 inches, and the thermometer, in the 
shade of my body, was at 46" F. ; but the instrument 
had been in the carriage all the morning, and was 
heated by the intense power of the sun in the fore part 
of the day. 

The traineaux with the body of the carriage had 
started about twelve o'clock. After they had been 
loaded, ropes were fixed to them at different parts, 
and they were consigned each traineau to about 
twenty men, who were by main strength to haul it 
over the mountain. They set off with a run and loud 
huzzas ; but the mules were not ready until one o'clock, 
and as a mule driver could be better spared, if wanted, 
than a man from the sledges, I kept in their company. 
At one o'clock we began to ascend the mountain, and I 
commenced walking with a barometer in my hand, the 
scale of which ran from 24 to 18 inches. The path 
quickly changed its appearance, and soon became not 
more than eighteen or twenty-four inches wide. Being 
formed by the constant tread of mules, it consisted 
merely of a series of alternate holes in the snow, each 
of which was six or eight inches deep, and ten or 
twelve across : in one part of our route the path had 


been formed on the snow on so steep an ascent that the 
surface exposed in a perpendicular direction was above 
four times as broad as the width of the path. Marks 
of feet were perceived crossing the mule path here 
and there, but leading directly up to the top of the 
mountain. These were the steps of the persons who 
had taken charge of the chaises-a-porieur; and the ascent 
must have been a very singular one to the person carried, 
who would often be placed in a position nearly vertical 
from the steepness of the ascent. In other places the 
marks of the carriage tratneaiix were visible. They 
had passed over plains of snow undirected by any pre- 
vious steps, or aught else except the devious mule path 
and the top of the mountain. At a distance, and nearly 
at the top of the mountain, the chaises-a-porteur were 
just visible, and a bird soaring below it the men pointed 
out to me as an eagle. 

After some climbing and scrambling, the exertion of 
which was sufficient to keep me very comfortably warm, 
I reached a ruined, desolate house, half-way up the 
mountain. Here we found the traineaux ; the men, 
having rested themselves after this long and laborious 
stage, were now waiting for their leader and the dram 
bottle. From hence the view was very extensive and 
very singular. The mules, which I had left at a little 
distance behind me, appeared winding up the staircase, 
which itself, towards the bottom, seemed to diminish to 
a mere hne, and all was enclosed in an enormous basin, 
and shut out from everything but the skies. The sound 
of the men's voices and the mule bells was singularly 
clear and distinct. 

After a short rest, all resumed their labour ; and at 
forty-three minutes after three o'clock I gained the sum- 


mit of the mountain, having been three hours ascending. 
Here, at a height of more than 6,000 feet above the 
level of the sea, the thermometer was at 11° P., and the 
barometer at 25- 3 inches. The observation of the baro- 
meter was made by Sir H. Davy, for though the merciiry 
oscillated in the instrument I carried, it did not fall within 
the scale. The summit of the mountain is very pointed, 
and the descent coirsequently begins immediately on 
the other side ; but I stopped a few minutes to look 
around me. The view from this elevation was very 
peculiar, and if immensity bestows grandeur was very 
grand. The sea in the distance stretching out appa- 
rently to infinity, the enormous snow-clad mountains, 
the clouds below the level of the eye, and the immense 
white valley before us, were objects which struck the 
eye more by their singularity than their beauty, and 
would, after two or three repetitions, raise feehngs of 
regret rather than of pleasure. The wind was very 
strong and chilling, and during the short time I re- 
mained (not a quarter of an hour) we were enveloped 
in a cloud, which,, however, soon passed off, and left all 
clear before us. 

To descend was a task which, though not so tedious, 
was more dangerous than to ascend. The snow was in 
much greater quantity on this side the mountain than 
on the other, and in many places where it had drifted 
assumed a beautifully dehcate appearance. In number- 
less spots it was, according to the men, more than 
twenty feet deep, and in descending it often received 
me more than half-way into it. In some parts caves 
or hoUows occur, having only a small hole in the top 
of the apparently solid snow ; and those who leave the 
mule path and descend directly down the mountain, 


1814. ^ must be particularly careful of such places, lest they 
Ml. 22. fall into them and be lost. In descending, one of the 
mules missed the steps, and fell rolling over and over 
several yards down the side of the mountain; fortunately 
it was not hurt, and by cutting a temporary path in the 
snow, and supporting its burden on each side, it was 
quickly brought into the right road. 

After I had been descending for some time down 
the mountain, the men with the traineaux made their 
appearance at the top, having finished by far the most 
arduous part of their undertaking. They stopped only 
to change the arrangement of the cords, and were almost 
immediately in motion. Their progress now was ex- 
tremely quick, and I thought dangerous, for men and 
traineaux actually slid in a direct line towards the 
bottom of the mountain, over these extensive and 
untried plains of snow. 

About half-past four we passed a little village con- 
sisting of seven or eight huts nearly buried in the snow ; 
they were uninhabited, and are principally intended as 
a refuge for the men if accidents or other circumstances 
should occur in the mountains during the night. At 
about a quarter past five evening began to come on, 
and the effect produced by it on the landscape was 
very singular, for the clouds and the mountains were 
so blended together that it was impossible to distinguish 
the earth from the atmosphere. The traineaux now 
rapidly approached us with surprising velocity ; and as 
it began to grow dark, I joined them, there being the 
greatest number of men, had I wanted aid, and their 
hard work being finished. 

Just as the starlight came on, the sounds of the 
evening bell of a distant village were faintly heard. 


They came from the place we were going to. Lanterns 
were hghted, and one was carried before each traineau ; 
and guided by them and a river which owed its birth 
to the mountain, and was here of considerable size, we 
got to Leman about seven o'clock in the evening, and 
there put up for the night ; supper and rest being both 

Tuesday, 22nd. — To-day we remained in Turin. It 
happened to be the last of the Carnival, so I walked 
out in the afternoon to see what was doing in public. 
Towards three o'clock the shops were shut up very 
rapidly, and the masters betook themselves to walking, 
gazing, and the amusements now going on. Such as 
were determined to be cheerful in spite of appearances 
joined the number who were waltzing to the music of 
itinerant musicians; and certainly these did not seem 
the least cheerful and happy part of the population of 
Turin (I may perhaps add, also, were not the least nu- 
merous). I strolled to one place just on the skirts of 
the town, and found it crowded by those who thus 
easily obtained their pleasures. It was a large clear 
piece of ground on the bank of a branch of the Po, and 
resounded from end to end and side to side with the 
harmony of a number of musical professors. The little 
groups into which they had formed themselves were 
surrounded each one by its circle of ever-moving and 
never-tired dancers, and the spaces between these 
groups were filled up by a heterogeneous mixture of 
singers, leapers, boxers, chestnut merchants, applestalls, 
beggars, trees, and lookers-on. I fell in with one of 
the most v/orthy sets — at least, they claimed the pre- 
eminency, and it was allowed them by the other mobs. 
The nucleus was an enormous stone, on which stood 



1814. tottering five musiciaiis, and twenty-one pairs were 

jet. 22. waltzing round them. 

Eeturning into the town, I found that those of Turin 
who were superior to the vulgar amusements I have 
just described had resorted to the employment which 
custom has ascertained to be more refined and suited 
to their ordinary habits and occupations. That such a 
suitableness exists I verily believe, but I think I per- 
ceived much more cheerfulness, and means much better 
suited to produce it, in the crowds I had left than in 
those I came to see ; but pride will supply many wants, 
and food, clothing, amusement, and comfort are very 
often given up for its peculiar gratification. 

I found myself in a wide and spacious street of con- 
siderable length, terminating at one end in a large 
place having a church in its centre. All the entrances 
into this street were guarded by soldiers, and no person 
on horseback or in a carriage could gain admission into 
it except at the top. A long string of carriages, cur- 
ricles, saddle-horses, &c., filled it, and they continued 
to move on progressively up and down the street and 
round the church for several hours. It was presumed 
that these vehicles carried- the principal persons of the 
town, but nobody pretended to say that the owners 
were actually in them. One of very goodly aspect and 
fine appearance was pointed out to me when coming 
up ; the horses were very handsome, and the coachman 
and footman as spruce as could be — and so were the 
two maids in the inside. The next was not so dashing, 
but it was empty; and the third was so shabby that I 
did not look to see what was inside. There were, 
however, an immense number of persons who stood on 
each side of the street, looking and gazing with great 


apparent satisfaction, and who, if they had been con- 
scious of the comparison I was then making between 
the scene before me and the one I had just left, would 
have looked down upon me with contempt and derision, 
no doubt, equal at least to that which at the same mo- 
ment occupied my mind. SiUy, however, as the whole 
affair was, it had nearly led to circumstances of more 
importance. A gentleman in his curricle, attended by 
his servant, had come down one of the side streets, and 
wished to enter the corso unlawfully, but was stopped 
by the soldier guarding the entrance. The gentleman, 
irritated by the repulse, endeavoured to force his way 
by rough driving. The soldier set his bayonet, and 
stood his ground. The horse was slightly wounded 
and near being killed, and from the pain became 
restive and had nearly killed his master, who was 
in the end obliged to turn back with his wounded 
horse, amidst the derision and laughter of the surround- 
ing mob. 

Saturday, l&ih. — Genoa. In the evening I went to 
the opera ; the performance was for the benefit of a 
principal actress, and, in consequence, an addition was 
made to the common course of entertainments. At a 
moment when the actress had completed the perform- 
ance of a difficult piece of singing, and had begun to 
receive abundance of applause, a shower of printed 
papers descended from the top of the theatre amongst 
the audience — some of them were copies of the piece 
just sung, and others were verses in praise of the actress. 
Like the rest I strove to obtain one, and succeeded. 
After the shower of papers, several pigeons were thrown, 
one by one, from the top of the theatre into the pit, 
and some of them suffered cruel deaths. Before the 


evening concluded, a repetition of these entertainments 
took place, accompanied by a shower of gold (paper), 
with all of which the audience appeared highly de- 
lighted. The theatre was small and pretty ; the per- 
formance to me very tedious. 

Friday, Feb. A.ih. — To-day went with Sir H. Davy 
to the house of a chemist to make experiments on tor- 
pedoes. There were three small ones, being about five 
inches long and four broad. They were very weak 
and feeble, for, when the water in which they were 
was warmed, they gave but very weak shocks, so weak 
that I could not feel them, but Sir H. Davy did. The 
great object was to ascertain whether water could be 
decomposed by the electrical power possessed by these 
animals. For this purpose wires were cemented into 
tubes, and the surface of the ends only exposed, as in 
Dr. WoUaston's method, and the two extreme ends, 
connected with plates of tin, were placed in contact 
with the two organs of the fish. It was then irritated, 
and often contracted, apparently giving the shock, but 
no efiect on the water was perceived. However, the 
smallness and weakness of the fish and the coldness of 
the season prevented any negative conclusion from 
being formed ; and it was resolved to complete the ex- 
periments in more advantageous circumstances another 

Saturday, bth. — The weather as yet against our 
voyage, and in the afternoon a storm of thunder and 
lightning, and rain with water-spouts. A flash of 
hghtning illuminated the room in which I was reading, 
and I then went out on the terrace to observe the 
weather. Looking towards the sea, I saw three water- 
spouts, all depending from the same stratum of clouds. 


I ran to the sea-shore on the outside of the harbour, 1814. 
hoping they would approach nearer, but that did not ^t. 22. 
happen. A large and heavy stratum of dark clouds 
was advancing apparently across the field of view, in a 
westerly direction : from this stratum hung three water- 
spouts — one considerably to the west of me, another 
nearly before me, and the third eastward ; they were 
apparently at nearly equal distances from each other. 
The one to the west was rapidly dissolving, and in the 
same direction a very heavy shower of rain was falling, 
but whether in the same place, or nearer or more dis- 
tant, I could not teU. Eain fell violently all the time 
at Genoa. The one before me was more perfect and 
distinct in its appearance. It consisted of an extended 
portion of cloud, very long and narrow, which pro- 
jected, from the mass above, downward, in a slightly 
curved direction, towards the sea. This part of the 
cloud was well defined, having sharp edges, and at the 
lower part tapering to a point. It varied its direction 
considerably during the time that I observed it — some- 
times becoming more inclined to the horizon, and some- 
times less ; sometimes more curved, and at other times 
more direct. Beneath the projecting cloud, and in a di- 
rection opposite to the point, the sea appeared violently 
agitated. At the distance it was from me I could 
merely perceive a vast body of vapour rising in clouds 
from the water, and ascending to some height, but dis- 
appearing as steam would do, long before it reached 
the point of the cloud. The elongated part apparently 
extended from the stratum about -fths or ^th of the 
distance between it and the water ; but no distinct and 
visible connection, except in effect, could be perceived 
between the vapour of the sea and the extended cloud. 


Appearances were exactly the same with the third 
water-spout. The first disappeared very quickly ; the 
second continued, after I saw it, about ten or twelve 
minutes, and the third fifteen or twenty minutes. They 
continued their progressive motion with the cloud dur- 
ing the whole time ; and the third, before it disap- 
peared, had advanced considerably — I should think 
two or three miles. The destruction and dissolution 
of the water-spout seemed to proceed very rapidly when 
it had once commenced, and three or four minutes after 
the apparent commencement of decay it had entirely 
disappeared — the vapour, the sea, and the cloud dimin- 
ishing in nearly equal proportions. They were situated 
much further out at sea than I at first supposed — I 
should think five or six miles ; and, of course, what I 
have here noted is merely a relation of the thing as it 
appeared to me, and is possibly very different from the 
real truth. During the time I remained on the port or 
quay observing the water-spouts, a strong flash of light- 
ning and a heavy peal of thunder proceeded from the 
same stratum of clouds. .... 

Monday, 21st. — Florence. Went with Sir H. Davy 
to the Academy del Cimento. Saw the library, which 
was very small. Then saw the gardens, which are 
conveniently arranged ; and afterwards saw the rooms 
and the apparatus. Here was much to excite interest 
— ^in one place was Galileo's first telescope, that with 
which he discovered Jupiter's satellites. It was a sim- 
ple tube of wood and paper, about 3^ feet long, with 
a lens at each end. The field of view very small. 
There was also the first lens which Gahleo made. It 
was set in a very pretty frame of brass, with an inscrip- 
tion in Latin on it. The lens itself is cracked across. 


The great burning-glass of the Grand Duke of Tus- 1814. 
cany, a very powerful instrument, was here also. The ^t. 22. 
academy has abundance of electrical apparatus. One 
electrical machine was made of red velvet, the rubber 
being formed of gilt leather. In a glass case were pre- 
served some Leyden phials perforated in an extraordi- 
nary manner. One of them had been broken through, 
by the discharge of a battery, in such a manner that a 
hole of a quarter of an inch in diameter had been 
formed. On the edge of the hole the glass was abso 
lutely pulverised, and cracks extended to the distance 
of a quarter of an inch from it, beyond which nothing 
particular was visible. The tin foil had been burnt off 
a space larger than the extent of the cracks. Another 
jar had also been perforated, and a hole of some size 
formed ; but the most particular thing was the com- 
bustion of the tin foil, which had taken place from the 
side to the bottom of the jar, and a surface of about 
seven square inches exposed. This was on the out- 
side; on the inside the foil was but little damaged. 
There was also a numerous collection of magnets of 
various forms and combinations — an enormous one, 
which was enclosed in a box, supported a weight of 
150 lbs. 

Sir H. Davy afterwards went into the laboratory, to 
which place I attended him, and made various experi- 
ments on iodine. 

Tuesday, 22nd. — The day principally employed in 
the laboratory. 

Wednesday, 23rd. — The same as yesterday. 

Thursday, 2^th. — Prepared things to-day for the com- 
bustion of the diamond in oxygen to-morrow, if the 
weather prove fine. The Duke's great lens was brought 


1814. out and placed in the garden, and its effect observed 
jEt. 22. on wood, &c., which it instantly inflamed. 

Sunday, 11th. — To-day we made the grand experi- 
ment of burning the diamond, and certainly the phe- 
nomena presented were extremely beautiful and interest- 
ing. A glass globe containing about 22 cubical inches 
was exhausted of air, and filled with very pure oxygen 
procured from oxymuriate of potash ; the diamond was 
supported in the centre of this globe by a rod of plati- 
num, to the top of which a cradle or cup was fixed, 
pierced full of holes to allow a free circulation of the 
gas about the diamond. The Duke's burning-glass was 
the instrument used to apply heat to the diamond. It 
consists of two double convex lenses, distant from each 
other about 3^ feet ; the large lens is about 14 or 15 
inches in diameter, the smaller one about 3 inches in 
diameter. The instrument is fixed in the centre of a 
round table, and is so arranged to admit of elevation or 
depression, or any adjustment required, at pleasure. By 
means of the second lens the focus is very much re- 
duced, and the heat, when the gun shines brightly, 
rendered very intense. The instrument was placed in 
an upper room of the museum ; and having arranged it 
at the window, the diamond was placed in the focus, 
and anxiously watched. The heat was thus continued 
at intervals for three quarters of an hour (it being 
necessary to cool the globe at times), and during that 
time it was thought that the diamond was slowly 
diminishing and becoming opaque. Now we had only 
a partial spectrum, for the upper part of the window 
obstructed the sun's rays ; but having sunk the whole of 
the apparatus, it was again exposed, and a very strong 
heat obtained. On a sudden Sir H. Davy observed 


the diamond to burn visibly, and when removed from 1814. 
the focus it was found to be in a state of active and .sst. 22. 
rapid combustion. The diamond glowed brilliantly 
with a scarlet light inclining to purple, and when 
placed in the dark continued to burn for about four 
minutes. After cooling the glass, heat was again 
applied to the diamond, and it burnt again, though not 
nearly so long as before. This was repeated twice 
more, and soon after the diamond became all consumed. 
This phenomenon of actual and vivid combustion, which 
has never been observed before, was attributed by Sir 
H. Davy to the free access of air. It became more 
dull as carbonic acid gas formed, and did not last so 
long. The globe and contents were put by for future 

Monday, 2%ih. — To-day we endeavoured to repeat the 
experiment of yesterday, but the sun had sunk too low, 
and sufficient heat could not be obtained. The experi- 
ment was then made, substituting chlorine for oxygen, 
but no change of the diamond was produced ; the 
platina was slightly acted on, and a cork used to sup- 
port the prop was very much corroded, but no combi- 
nation of carbon and chlorine was effected. 

Tuesday, 2%th. — This morning, the diamond which we 
had ineffectually endeavoured to burn yesterday was 
brought out, and, being again exposed in the focus as 
before, produced by a bright and powerful sun, soon 
exhibited signs of strong electricity, and a few small fila- 
ments which floated in the gas were variously attracted 
and repelled by it. In a short time a thin slip of platina, 
used to fasten the diamond in, was observed to fuse, and 
in taking the globe from the focus the diamond was 
seen in a state of intense ignition and combustion. It 


^1814. continued burning for some time, and when extin- 
^T. 22. guished was again ignited by the appUcation of the 
lens, and burnt as before. This was repeated five 
times, after which no visible signs of combustion or 
diminution could be perceived. Having apphed the 
heat for some time longer, it was at length taken away, 
and the temperature reduced to the same point as at 
the commencement of the experiment ; but no vapour 
nor any signs of the formation of water could be per- 
ceived. A portion of the gas was then put into a 
curved tube and decomposed by potassium ; charcoal 
was liberated, and no other substance but the charcoal 
and the oxygen could be found in the gas formed. 
Limewater was then introduced, and the carbonate of 
lime precipitated careftdly gathered, washed, and pre- 
served for further analysis and investigation. 

Wednesday, 2>Qth.. — A diamond was to-day exposed in 
the focus of the instrument in an atmosphere of carbonic 
acid, to ascertain whether carbonic oxide would be thus 
formed ; but after exposure to the heat from twelve 
to one o'clock no change could be perceived, nor had 
the diamond lessened in weight. 

Saturday, April 2nd. — Another diamond was burnt in 
oxygen gas, for the purpose of ascertaining whether any 
azote or other gas inabsorbable by water was given off; 
but all the circumstances are against such a supposition. 
The apparatus was very simple and convenient. A 
small globe with a neck was filled entirely with water, 
and then f rds with oxygen gas ; the diamond, fixed on 
the end of its support, was introduced, and the globe 
transferred by means of a wineglass to the lens. When 
heated, the diamond burned as in the former cases, giving 
out a fine scarlet light inchning to purple, and extreme 


heat. The globe was then allowed to cool to its former 
temperature ; but no apparent change of volume had 
occurred, though the water must have absorbed a little 
carbonic acid gas (the volume was not noticed with pre- 
cision). A solution of lime, and afterwards of caustic 
potash, was then introduced into the globe, and the 
carbonic acid removed ; then, by adding nitrous gas to 
the same volume of the remaining gas and the oxygen 
used, a portion of which had been preserved, it was 
found that the diminution was exactly the same, and the 
remainder very small in both cases ; so that nothing but 
carbonic acid gas had been formed, and as yet it appears 
that the diamond is pure carbon. 

Having finished these experiments, we bade adieu for 
a time to the Academy del Cimento, and prepared to 
depart for Eome. 

Tuesday, 7th. — Eome. Went into a bookseller's shop 
to inquire for an Italian and English dictionary, but could 
not find one. Went into the workshop of a bookbinder, 
and saw there the upper part of a fine Corinthian pillar 
of white marble, which he had transformed into a beat- 
ing stone of great beauty. Found my former profession 
carried on here with very little skill, neither strength 
nor elegance being attained. 


' Eome : April 14, 1814. 

' My dear Mother, — It is with singular pleasure I 
commence writing after so long a silence, and the 
pleasure is greatly increased by the almost certainty 
that you will get my letter. We are at present in a land 
of friends, and where every means is used to render the 

VOL. I. I 


^^^^- communication witii England open and unobstructed. 

Xt. 22. Nevertheless, this letter will not come by the ordinary- 
route, but by a high favour Sir H. Davy wiU put it 
with his own, and it will be conveyed by a particular 

'I trust that you are well in health and spirits, and 

that aU things have gone right since I left you 

Mr. Eiebau and fifty other friends would be inquired 
after could I but have an answer. You must consider 
this letter as a kind of general one, addressed to that 
knot of friends who are twined round my heart ; and I 
trust that you wiU let them aU know that, though dis- 
tant, I do not forget them, and that it is not from want 
of regard that I do not write to each singly, but from 
want of convenience and propriety; indeed, it appears 
to me that there is more danger of my being forgot 
than of my forgetting. The first and last thing in my 
mind is England, home, and friends. It is the point to 
which my thoughts still ultimately tend, and the goal to 
which, looking over intermediate things, my ej'es are 
still directed. But, on the contrary, in London you are 
aU together, your circle being httle or nothing diminished 
by my absence ; the small void which was formed on 
my departure would soon be worn out, and, pleased and 
happy with one another, you will seldom think of me. 
Such are sometimes my tlioughts, but such do not rest 
with me ; an innate feeling tells me that I shall not be 
forgot, and that I still possess the hearts and love of my 
mother, my brother, my sisters, and my friends. When 
Sir H. Davy first had the goodness to ask me whetlier 
I would go with him, I mentally said, " JSTo ; I have a 
mother, I have relations here." And I almost wished tliat 
I had been insulated and alone in London ; but now I 


am glad that I have left some behind me on whom I 
can think, and whose actions and occupations I can 
picture in my mind. Whenever a vacant hour occurs, 
I employ it by thinking on those at home. Whenever 
present circumstances are disagreeable, I amuse myself 
by thinking on those at home. In short, when sick, 
when cold, when tired, the thoughts of those at home 
are a warm and refreshing balm to my heart. Let those 
who think such thoughts useless, vain, and paltry, think 
so still ; I envy them not their more refined and more 
estranged feelings : let them look about the world un- 
incumbered by such ties and heart-strings, and let them 
laugh at those who, guided more by nature, cherish 
such feelings. For me, I still will cherish them, in op- 
position to the dictates of modern refinement, as the 
first and greatest sweetness in the life of man. 

'I have said nothing as yet to you, dear mother, about 
our past journey, which has been as pleasant and agree- 
able (a few things excepted, in reahty nothing) as it 
was possible to be. Sir H. Davy's high name at Paris 
gave us free admission into all parts of the French 
dominions, and our passports were granted with the 
utmost readiness. We first went to Paris, and stopped 
there two months ; afterwards we passed, in a southerly 
direction, through France to Montpellier, on the borders 
of the Mediterranean. From thence we went to Nice, 
stopping a day or two at Aix in our way ; and from 
Nice we crossed the Alps to Turin, in Piedmont. From 
Turin we proceeded to Genoa, which place we left after- 
wards in an open boat, and proceeded by sea towards 
Lerici. This place we reached after a very disagreeable 
passage, and not without apprehensions of being overset 
by the way. As there was nothing there very enticing, 

I 2 


^^^^•_. we continued our route to Florence ; and, after a stay 
^T. 22. of three weeks or a month, left that fine city, and in four 
days arrived here at Eome. Being now in the midst 
of things curious and interesting, something arises every 
day which calls for attention and observations. The 
relics of ancient Eoman magnificence, the grandeur of 
the churches, and their richness also — the difference of 
habits and customs, each in turn engages the mind and 
keeps it continually employed. Florence, too, was net 
destitute of its attractions for me, and in the Academy 
del Cimento and the museum attached to it is contained 
an inexhaustible fund of entertainment and improve- 
ment; indeed, during the whole journey, new and in- 
structive things have been continually presented to me. 
Tell B. I have crossed the Alps and the Apennines ; 
I have been at the Jardin des Plantes ; at the museum 
arranged by Buffon ; at the Louvre, among the chefs- 
d'ceuvre of sculpture and the masterpieces of painting ; 
at the Luxembourg palace, amongst Eubens' works ; 
that I have seen a GLOWWOEM ! ! ! water-spouts, tor- 
pedo, the museum at the Academy del Cimento, as 
well as St. Peter's, and some of the antiquities here, and 
a vast variety of things far too numerous to enumerate. 
' At present I am in very good health, and so far is 
travelling from disagreeing with me that I am become 
somewhat heavier and thicker than when I left England. 
I should have written to you long ago, but I had no hopes 
of getting a letter conveyed ; but at present I conclude 
that you will surely have this. I have a thousand 
things more to say, but do not know how to select one 
from the other, so shall defer them all to a more con- 
venient opportunity. When you write into the country, 
remember me, if you please, to all friends there, and 


more particularly to those to whom I have written. At ^ 1814.^ 
present, I bid farewell for a time to all friends, wishing ^t. 22. 
them much happiness. 

'I am, dear Mother, with earnest wishes for your 
health and welfare, your dutiful son, 

' M. Faraday. 

' PS. There is no certain road open at present by 
which you can write to me, so that, much as I wish it, 
it must be deferred a little longer. We have heard 
this morning that Paris was taken by the Allied troops 
on March 31, and, as things are, we may soon hope 
for peace, but at present all things are uncertain. 
Englishmen are here respected almost to adoration, 
and I proudly own myself as belonging to that nation 
which holds so high a place in the scale of European 

' Adieu, dear Mother, at present. Your dutiful son, 

' M. Faraday.' 

Sunday, April l^tli. — Went to-day to the palace of 
the Monte Cavallo, situated on the summit of Mount 
Quirinal; it is the most pleasantly situated of any in 
Eome, and gives a fine view of the city. The interior 
is interesting at this moment for its unfinished state. 
It was intended for the palace of the future King of 
Eome, son of Napoleon I. The apartments in which 
the works of ornament and luxury have been com- 
menced are numerous, and the designs are extremely 
appropriate and beautiful. Ancient columns of beautiful 
materials have been cut up to form the fireplaces, and 
the entrances, and the ceiling of each chamber contains 
a beautiful painting. The design in the ceiling of the 
chamber intended for the emperor represented night. 


A bard was sleeping over his harp, and dreams of war, 
conquest, and glory hovering around him. The idea 
and the execution were beautiful, but the application 
not very felicitous. Mosaic work both in wood and 
stone abounded, and no expense has, indeed, been 
spared in the commencement of these works. The 
place was shown us where the Pope was taken prisoner, 
and the door and staircase by which the soldiers 

From this place we went to the Villa Borghese, and 
parsed a pleasant hour in the gardens, which abound 
with fountains, temples, and statues. 

I hardly know why I endeavour to describe the anti- 
quities and works of art that I see in the course of my 
walks ; I know very well that I can give no idea of 
their beauty or value, and that the observations I make 
would appear absurd to others. But this journal is 
not intended to instruct and inform, or to convey an 
imperfect idea of what it speaks of ; its sole use is to 
recall to my mind at some future time the things I see 
now ; and the most effectual way to do that wUl be, I 
conceive, to write down, be they good or bad, or how- 
ever imperfect, my present impressions. 

Thursday, May bth. — Went to-day to repeat an ex- 
periment first made by Signor Morrichini of Eome, on 
magnetism, and interesting in the highest degree from 
its novelty, and the important conclusions it leads to. 

The experiment consists in giving magnetism to a 
needle by the solar rays, and was thus performed : — a 
needle was fixed on the point of a pin of brass by a 
piece of wax, in a direction north and south nearly, and 
a spectrum being formed by the decomposition of a 
strong ray of white light, the violet rays were collected 


by a lens, and the focus gradually drawn along the 
needle, begmning at the middle and proceeding to the 
north point. A white screen was placed behind the 
needle, which rendered it easy to bring the focus where 
it was wanted. The focus was thus made to pass con- 
tinually over the needle, always in the same direction, 
for an hour ; and then the sun getting too high for our 
apparatus, the experiment was finished for this day. 
On essaying the needle by iron filings, and also by 
suspension, no eifect was perceived. This was attri- 
buted to the misty air, for the sun was not so bright as 
it very often is here at this season. The result of the 
experiment when made successfully — that is, with a 
bright sun — is a magnetic needle, which points north 
and south, attracts iron filings, attracts the contrary 
pole of a common magnet, and repels the same pole, 
and possesses in every respect the same qualities. The 
experiment has been repeated above fifty times, and 
always with success — sometimes being completed in 
half an hour, and sometimes requiring the bright sun 
of two days. It is found that only the violet, the blue, 
and the green rays have this power — the violet most, 
and the green least. The red rays have been thrown 
in the same way on a needle at various times for 
twenty-four hours, but they produce no effect. The 
experiment also succeeds as well in winter as in sum- 
mer, and in general is finished sooner. I saw one 
needle which had been thus formed. It was highly 
magnetic, attracted strongly iron, and quickly took its 
direction when suspended, observing the variation as 
other needles do. The needle which was taken for 
this experiment was reserved for another day, when 
the process would be continued. 



Saturday, 7th. — Eose at twelve o'clock last night, 
and at two this morning was on the road to Naples. 
This early hour was chosen for the purpose of proceed- 
ing as far as possible on the first day, for, as the road 
is considered as very dangerous and abounding with 
robbers, it was necessary to take some precautions in 
order to ensure our arrival at Naples. At the second 
change of horses, six gendarmes joined us, and escorted 
us over a dangerous part of the road. At the next 
post the number was lessened, but some were with us 
all day. Euins were plentiful in this day's journey, 
and two fine aqueducts appeared. The Colosseum, at 
the commencement of the journey, was beautiful in the 
extreme, and, as the moon, nearly full, appeared through 
the upper range of arches, had a romantic and beautiful 

Friday, loth. — Mount Vesuvius was the employment 
of to-day, and fully rewarded the trouble and fatigue 
attendant upon seeing it. We were at the foot of the 
mountain by half -past eleven o'clock. From hence it 
is usual to proceed to what the peasants call the foot 
of the summit on asses, but I walked this road. The 
lower part of the mountain is veiy highly cultivated, 
and yields grapes, figs, and other fruit in abundance. 
This luxuriant vegetation is continued upwards to a 
considerable height, and takes place upon a soil of 
lava, partly decomposed, and partly pulverised. The 
road is very disagreeable from the quantity of large 
loose stones. After crossing an ancient stream of lava, 
we came at length to the Hermitage, or half-way house. 
The recluse came out to meet us, but though in a black 
gown, he proved himself not at all deficient in the art 
of an innkeeper. We stopped there a short time, en- 


joying the extensive view of both sea and earth 
presented to us, and then continued our route up- 
wards, until we had reached the foot of the summit. 
This last road was very rough and hilly, laying over 
streams of lava, which in many places appeared broken, 
or thrown together in a very singular manner. At 
this place the most tiresome part of our journey com- 
menced. What they call the summit — i.e. the mountain 
formed by "the ashes thrown out, and which contains 
the crater — is constituted by lava and dust. The 
streams of lava that issue forth at each eruption partly 
cool on the summit, and remain there, and are after- 
wards covered by the ashes and stones thrown out. 
This collection of course has the altitude naturally 
taken by a heap of small rolhng bodies, and added to 
this great degree of inclination, it has the disadvantage 
of being a very bad foundation for the feet, continu- 
ally receding as the foot advances ; nevertheless, by the 
aid of strong sticks, and two or three restings, we 
attained the top by about half-past two o'clock. Here 
the volume of smoke and flame appeared immense, 
and the scene was fearfully grand. The ground be- 
neath us was very hot, and smoke and vapour issued 
out from various spots around us. On the top of the 
summit rises a small mountain, which from a distance 
appears covered with sulphur. This we ascended, and 
then came to a resting-place, from whence the mouth 
of the volcano, and part of the crater were visible. 
Prom here we had a fine view of the fire. The wind 
was very favourable, and blew the smoke from us, and 
at times we could see the flames breaking out from a 
large orifice with extraordinary force, and the smoke 
and vapour ascending in enormous clouds ; and when 



silence was made the roaring of the flames came fear- 
fully over the ear. We then advanced to a piece of 
ground thrown up on the edge of the crater, and were 
then within 1 00 (feet ?) of the orifice from whence the 
flames issued forth. Here we had a fine view of the 
crater, appearing as an enormous funnel, and the 
smoke issuing forth in abundance from most parts of 
it. It was incrusted in many places with the same 
yellow substance before observed, and which Sir H. 
Davy said was muriate of iron. After having stood 
here a few minutes, we were obliged to retreat with 
rapidity, for the wind, changing suddenly, brought the 
smoke upon us, and the sulphurous acid gas threatened 
suffocation. I incautiously remained to collect some 
of the substances, and was then obliged to run over the 
lava, to the great danger of my legs. Having gained 
our former station, we remained there for a time to 
observe things in more security. 

There appeared to me to be two very distinct species 
of smoke or vapour — that which proceeded from the 
mouth of the volcano was very dense, of a yellow- 
white colour, and rolled away in the form of cumuli. 
From the odour of that which had been thrown on us 
by the wind, it appeared to consist principally of sul- 
phurous acid gas and water. From other places a 
white vapour arose which disappeared rapidly as steam 
would do, and from the faint odour it possessed ap- 
peared to be very little else but steam. Sir H. kindly 
explained to me that all, or nearly all, the water which 
was condensed by the mountain, and which would 
otherwise form streams and springs, was volatilised by 
the heat, and was one principal cause of the smoke. 
On the spot where we were a very considerable heat 


was evident, and in cavities in tke lava it was too 
strong for the hand to bear ; and a boy who came up 
with us cooked some eggs by this heat, and laid them 
out with bread and wine as a repast. In these cavities 
a very evident odour of muriatic acid and chlorine was 
perceptible, and the various substances of white, red, 
and yellow colours appeared to be muriate of iron. 

Where the heat was not too great, the ashes at the 
top were very moist, from the condensation of water 
volatilised from below. At one spot where we were, a 
man poured some wine into a hole, where the heat was 
so great as to cause a strong ebullition, and the wine 
immediately evaporated. At some little distance from 
this spot a white subUmate appeared on the lava in cer- 
tain spots which proved to be muriate of soda. Having 
observed everything that was visible at this time, we 
began, at about three o'clock, to descend, and found the 
task as disagreeable almost as the ascent, though much 
more rapid. The asses appeared at an immense dis- 
tance below us, and the space between them and us 
was a steep plain of rolling ashes. The descent of this 
part reminded me very strongly of the descent from 
the Alps, and the principal difference was, that in the 
last case we sank and rolled in snow, and in the present 
in ashes. 

Having, however, continued to slide to the bottom, 
we again got on a less inclined path, and proceeded to- 
wards the Hermitage. In the descent the streams of lava, 
which at various times had issued out from the moun- 
tain, appeared before us as rivers, and were extremely 
distinct from the nude soil by their black and barren 
appearance. The lava appeared exactly as I expected 
it would do. In many places the liquid or soft portion 



beneath had been covered by loose masses, which occa- 
sioned a rough and rugged surface ; and in some parts 
it had flowed clear and uncovered, and had taken the 
various curved forms and marks where it had met an 
obstacle. It was of various colours and densities, 
graduating from the densest kind to almost pumice. 

About the middle of the mountain were various frag- 
ments of a green primitive rock, which Sir H. said had 
been shot out of the mountain. In about two hours 
we gained the bottom, and proceeded homewards. 

Saturday, lith. — To-day was again devoted to Vesu- 
vius ; but the party was much larger, and the hour 
much later than yesterday, the intention being to see it 
in the night. We were at the foot of the mountain by 
half-past four o'clock, and gained the summit by about 
half-past seven o'clock. During our climb upwards 
many beautiful views were highly enjoyed, and the 
evening light on the mountains and promontories was 
very fine. Some rain fell as we approached the top, 
which being volatilised by the heat made a much 
greater appearance of vapour than yesterday ; added to 
which the fire was certainly stronger, and the smoke 
emitted in far greater quantity. The wind had changed 
since yesterday, but was still very favourable to our 
intention, and carried the smoke and vapour in a long 
black line over the hills to a great distance. It now 
became dark very quickly, and the flames appeared 
more and more awful — at one time enclosed in the 
smoke, and everything hid from our eyes ; and then 
the flames flashing upwards and lighting through the 
cloud, till by a turn of the wind the orifice was cleared, 
and the dreadful place appeared uncovered and in all 
its horrors. The flames then issued forth in whirlwinds. 


and rose many yards above the mouth of the volcano. 
The flames were of a hght red colour, and at one time, 
when I had the most favourable view of the mouth, 
appeared to issue from an orifice about three yards, or 
rather more, over. 

Cloths were now laid on the smoking lava, and bread, 
chickens, turkey, cheese, wine, water, and eggs roasted 
on the mountain, brought foi'th, and a species of dinner 
taken at this place. Torches were now lighted, and 
the whole had a singular appearance ; and the surround- 
ing lazzaroni assisted not a little in adding to the pic- 
turesque effect of the scene. After having eaten and 
drunk, Old England was toasted, and ' God save the 
King ' and ' Eule, Britannia ' sung ; and then two very 
entertaining Eussian songs by a gentleman, a native of 
that country, the music of which was peculiar and very 

Preparations were now made for the descent ; so 
taking an earnest view of the crater, we began, at half- 
past eight, to slide down as before, but with an increase 
of difficulties, for the uncertain and insufficient light of 
a waving and fickle torch was not enough to show 
rightly the path. And the increase of number caused 
an increase of evils, for, not proceeding in a line, those 
before ran great danger from the rapid descent of large 
fragments- loosened by those behind ; and the cries of 
alarm were very frequent — and, indeed, some that I saw 
would have endangered the life of any person against 
whom they might have struck. Having, however, 
reached the bottom of the summit, the asses were 
mounted, and at about eleven o'clock we found our- 
selves in the village at the foot of the mountain. Duriuff 
our descent, the beautiful appearance of the fire fre- 


quently drew the attention of all persons, and the long 
black cloud, barely visible by the starlight, appeared as 
a road in the heavens. 

Got home by half-past eleven o'clock, highly pleased 
and satisfied with the excursion. 

Friday, June 3rd. — Eemained at Terni to-day, em- 
ploying the time in an excursion to the waterfall of the 
same name. The cascade is situated at the distance of 
five miles from the village, and is considered the finest 
and highest in Europe. It is formed by the lake 
Velino, which falls into the Nera from a height of above 
200 feet. Ascending from the village, we passed first 
by the river after its fall, which was much swelled by 
the rains, and increased my expectations of the cascade. 
Its colour was very white and turbid. After a while 
we arrived at the summit of the fall, and saw the stream, 
of great size, pass with impetuosity to the edge of 
the fall. Turning a little on one side, we came to a 
spot where the fall was visible : and here truly the 
scene was beautiful. The view of the country alone is 
very fine, and from a great eminence a fine view of the 
valley and the distant mountains is obtained. But the 
fall is what attracts the first notice, and calls the atten- 
tion with an immense roaring. The rocks are perpen- 
dicular, and the water falls nearly free in a stream of 
the purest white. The force with which it descends 
causes a considerable quantity to be dispersed in the air 
in mists and fine rain ; and this produced the beautiful 
phenomena of the rainbow in the utmost perfection. 
Our situation was the most advantageous for this effect, 
and the prismatic colours appeared with extreme vivid- 
ness in an arc of nearly two-thirds of a circle of about 
200 feet in diameter. The red outer and more famt 


rainbow was also visible. The water in its descent car- 
ried a vast body of air with it into the recess below, 
which was forced up again by the curling stream. This 
was produced in a very curious and singular manner. 
The water thrown up from the bottom of the fall by the 
concussion condensed and gathered together in small 
streams, which ran down the sides of some low rocks 
opposite to the fall, and situated in the stream ; but 
these streams, on passing over the projecting parts of the 
rock into the free air, were arrested by the ascending 
current of air, and were broken into minute drops, and 
disappeared. Advancing still further, we came to a 
small summer-house, or arbour, at the end of a project- 
ing rock, which gave us a direct and opposite view of 
the fall, which here appeared in full force and grandeur. 
After admiring the scene for a while, we walked through 
a beautiful country to the lake from whence the stream 
proceeded. The vegetation here is extremely luxuriant, 
and woodbine, geraniums, myrtles, thyme, mint, pepper- 
mint, &c,, scented the air in the walk. The nature of 
the old lake was shown in a very interesting manner. 
The base of this part is travertine or calcareous matter 
deposited by water, which appeared in strata and as 
stalactites ; in many places agates appeared in the lime- 
stone. They had surrounded a nodule of limestone as 
a thick shell, and afterwards had been inclosed by a 
further deposition of calcareous matter. Chert also 
occurred. This cavity was formerly the bottom of a 
lake which deposited these matters ; but a passage was 
cut for the waters, and by this means a great extent of 
country recovered. We came at length to the present 
lake, and taking a boat rowed on it for some time to 
enjoy the scenery. The water of the river is slightly 



1814. opaque, but the lake is beautifully clear. It is sur- 
Mt. 22. rounded by mountains of fine form and situation, and 
the views are delicious. In the distance appeared the 
mountains which separate the kingdom of Naples from 
the Pope's dominions, and snow was observed on them 
in considerable quantities. On returning to that part 
of the lake from which we set out, we observed fisher- 
men dragging. Here many water plants were growing 
beneath the surface of the water ; and I observed many 
streams of oxygen gas ascend from them, liberated by 
the rays of a bright sun. "We now returned to the fall, 
and again enjoyed our former views ; but the rainbow 
was still more beautiful than before, for, from the re- 
spective situation of the sun, the eminence, and the 
fall, a bow of three-fourths of a circle was attained. 
We descended the mountain to gain the bottom of the 
fall, and in going there passed through a grove of 
orange trees in full blossom, and which scented the gale 
to a distance of many yards. And at a spot nearly 
opposite to the bottom of the fall, we found that it was 
not one fall only, but three successive falls that con- 
ducted the water to the bottom, the first only being 
visible from the summit. The other falls are not so 
high as the first, and take place amongst enormous 
rocks and masses, breaking the water into two streams, 
which unite again at the bottom. The scene here was 
fine, but not so beautiful as above. 

We now left the fall, and went to the side of the 
river, to observe the deposition which is constantly going 
on here. The masses of travertine were enormous, 
forming ledges over the present streams, and appearing 
in various singular forms. The different extraneous 
bodies which fall into the stream are soon incrusted by 


the water, and in some places masses of leaves are found 
which are thus covered, and give their form to stone. 
Some poles which had been placed in the water to form 
a ledge were incrusted nearly to the thickness of half an 
inch. The waters here are very white. Having enjoyed 
this interesting place for some hours, we returned to 
the village on the hill, and from thence to Terni. 

Sunday, hth. — Continued our way through a fine 
but hilly country, well cultivated and very gay in ap- 
pearance. We left the Apennines about midday, and 
entered the valleys, where the scenery was beautiful from 
an accompanying river and the surrounding mountains. 
Towards the evening we came to a mark of the Eomans, 
and one worthy of their name. It was the Flaminian 
Eoad, which in this place, near the mountain of Asdru- 
bal, is cut in the side of a solid rock for the length of 
more than a mile and a half Here the scenery was 
sublime to the highest degree, and almost terrific — 
the enormous overhanging cliffs rendering still darker 
the shades of evening, and a roaring torrent rolling at 
our feet. At last the way appeared entirely shut up, 
and we seemed as if on the point of entering the Shades 
as we passed into the rock; but the passage was short, 
and we soon gained again the open air. Tliis astonish- 
ing outlet was cut by the Eomans through the rock in 
order to pass a jutting point, and gives the last and 
highest character to this wonderful road. It is in leno-th 
about twenty-five yards, and sufficiently large to admit 
a carriage without the least danger. The whole road 
has been repaired by modern hands, made larger, more 
commodious, and is now the means of the easiest convey- 

VOL. I. K 


ance where conveyance seemed impossible. The rocks 
are hmestone. 

On leaving this pass, we entered a country the cha- 
racter of which could scarcely be perceived from the 
advancement of the evening; but entertainment and 
dehght were not wanting, for the fireflies appeared 
before and about us in innumerable quantities, and at 
a distance they covered the sides of the mountain, and 
near us they passed over the fields, hovered on the edge 
or crossed the road, often attaching themselves to the 
harness, and emitting their bright and harmless flashes 
of light in a rapid and beautiful manner. 

Lightning of the finest kind also appeared before us 
on the horizon, and the evening was filled by the 
phenomena of light. 

Friday, 17th. — Milan. Saw M. Volta, who came to 
Sir H. Davy, an hale elderly man, bearing the red 
ribbon, and very free in conversation. 


' Geneva : July 1. Received July 18. 

' I hope, dear Mother, that you are in good health, 
and that nothing occurs to disturb you or render you 
uncomfortable, and that no changes of a disagreeable 
nature have happened since I left you. I hope, too, for 
the health and welfare of all my friends .... and 
that at some time I shall be happy with you all again. 
I think often and often of you, and in thoughts often 
enjoy your company. I contrast the company of my 
friends with the presence of strangers, and I compare 
the convenience and cleanliness of home to the want 
and filth of foreign accommodations. Things run irre- 
gularly in the great world ; and London is now I suppose 


full of feasting and joy, and honoured by the presence 
of the greatest personages in Europe. I find reason 
everywhere to feel proud of my country, and find every- 
one ready to praise her and to honour her virtues. My 
thoughts run hastily, dear Mother, from one thing to 
another ; but you must excuse it at this moment, and 
attribute it to the urgency of circumstances. I long 
for the moment when I shall salute all my friends 
personally ; but till the moment arrives, I must be 
indebted to the good and kind ofSces of others, and now 
of you, dear Mother. Remember me to ... . ten- 
derly and affectionately ; and remind Mr. Eiebau, &c., 
that I still exist ; and if Eobert will call at the Institution 
and tell Mrs. Greenwood I wish to be remembered to 
her, I should feel the favour. 

' Adieu, dear Mother. At present my moments are 
expired ; but I still remain, and ever shall do on this 
earth, your affectionate and dutiful son, 

'M. Faeadat.' 

' Geueva : Saturday, August 6, 1814. Received August 18. 

' Dear Eobert, — .... I feel too grateful for the 
goodness of Mr. De la Eoche, of whom my mother will 
give you some account. If he should stiU be in King 
Street or in London, I should hke to have my name 
mentioned to him, with thanks on my side ; but he is 
perhaps in France, and if I see Paris again I shall search 
for him. 

' During the time I have passed from home, many 
sources of information have been opened to me, and many 
new views have arisen of men, manners, and things, 
both moral and philosophical. The constant presence of 

K 2 


Sir Humphry Davy is a mine inexhaustible of knowledge 
and improvement ; and the various and free conversation 
of the inhabitants of those countries through which 
I have passed has continually afforded entertainment 
and instruction. On entering France, the dissimilarity 
between the inhabitants and the people of my own 
country was strong and impressive, and entered firmly 
into my mind. I have found the French people in general 
a communicative, brisk, intelligent, and attentive set of 
people ; but their attentions were to gain money, and for 
their intelligence they expect to be paid. Politeness is 
the general character of the people, a character which 
they well deserve ; but the upper classes have carried it 
beyond the bounds of reason, and in politeness they lose 
truth and sincerity. Their manners are very insinuating 
and kind, their address at once ea?y and free, and their 
conversation vivid and uninterrupted, but though it 
dwells for hours on the same subject, you can scarcely 
make out what the subject is, for it is certainly the most 
confined, the most uninteresting and inapplicable con- 
versation I have met with. The French language in the 
mouth of the people has a softness of such delicacy as 
is not to be found in other languages, and in which, I 
think, it is very superior to the Itahan — this last, indeed, 
appears to me to have an effeminate character ; but 
the French language has a great degree of strength and 
expression, and is yet deUcate and tender. The Italian 
language is by far the easiest to learn, from the circum- 
stance of every letter being pronounced in the words 
the same as when single, and also because there is a 
greater similarity between the words of the Italian and 
English languages than between those of the French and 
Enghsh languages. But, however, I must not pretend to 


judge as yet of the character of these languages with 
precision, for I am but little acquainted with them, 
though, at the same time, I have endeavoured to avoid 
the imputation of idleness. 

' Civilisation seems to have taken different paths in the 
nations of Europe towards the end of, or rather latter 
part of, her progress. At Paris civilisation has Been 
employed mostly in the improvement and perfection of 
luxuries, and oftentimes, in the pursuit, has neglected 
the means of adding to domestic and private comfort, 
and has even at times run counter to it. In ornaments, 
indeed, the Parisians excel, and also in their art of apply- 
ing them ; but in the elegance of appearance utility is 
often lost, and English articles which have been formed 
under the direction of a less refined but more useful 
judgment are often eagerly preferred. At Paris every- 
thing yields to appearance, the result of what is called 
fine taste : the tradesman neglects his business to gain 
time to make appearance ; the poor gentleman starves 
his inside to make his outside look well ; the jeweller 
fashions his gold into trinkets for show and ornament ; 
and so far does this love of appearance extend, that 
many starve in a garret all the week to go well dressed 
to the opera on Sunday evening. I, who am an 
Englishman, and have been bred up with Enghsh habits, 
of course prefer English civilisation to the civilisation of 
France, and think that my common sense has made the 
best choice ; but every-day experience teaches me that 
others do not think so ; yet, though I have no right to 
suppose that I excel all those who differ from me, I still 
am allowed the liberty of forming my own opinion. The 
civilisation of Italy seems to have hastened with back- 
ward steps in latter years, and at present there is found 


there only a degenerate, idle people, making no efforts 
to support the glory that their ancestors left them, but 
allowing it and their works to fall into obscurity. 
Cramped by ignorance and buried in dirt, they seem to 
have been placed in a happy soil only to show forth 
their degeneracy and fallen state ; and Eome is at this 
day not only a memento of decayed majesty in the ruins 
of its ancient monuments and architecture, but also in 
the degeneracy of the people. 

' Believe me truly and sincerely yours, with all wishes, 

' M. Fakaday.' 


' Geneva : Friday, August 19. Received September 12. 

' Dear Mother, — It is with the greatest pleasure that 
I embrace every opportunity that offers the best chance 
of communicating with you. At this time a gentleman, 
a friend of Sir Humphry Davy's, leaves this place, I 
believe, early to-morrow, and expects to be in England 
in alDOut twelve days ; and shortly after the expiration 
of that time, I hope you will be reading over this sheet 
of paper. I have written many letters to you from 
various places, as Paris, Sestri, Genoa, Florence, Eome, 
&c., and also from here ; but I have only received one 
from England, and it only notices the arrival of one of 
these. Most of these letters, it is true, were sent by 
private hands, and may yet gain you ; but some have 
left Geneva by post, and I am much disappointed in 
not having yet received answers, although I attend 
daily at the office. The letter I received, and which 
came a welcome messenger from a distant beloved 


country, was written by Eobert Abbott ; nor am I de- 
ficient in gratitude for his kindness, not only as it was a 
proof of his own friendship and remembrance, but as 
it also quieted my anxieties with respect to you, though 
in a manner so short that it only excited stronger de- 
sires for the letter it mentioned as being written by E. 
(his brother). I should have written to E. long ago, 
but I wait for his communication. B. has also a long 
communication, and if it is not on the road, beg of him 
to despatch it immediately, if you receive this before 
September 1 or 2, but otherwise he must direct it to 
the Poste Eestante, Eome. 

' Here, dear Mother, all goes on well. I am in per- 
fect health, and almost contented, except with my igno- 
rance, which becomes more visible to me every day, 
though I endeavour as much as possible to remedy it. 
The knowledge that you have let your house, and that 
it has been doing its office to you almost since the day 
that I left you, was very pleasing ; and I hope sincerely 
that you enjoy health and strength of mind to govern 
it with your accustomed industry and good order. 
The general assurance of A. that all friends were in 
perfect health was much to know ; but I want a more 
particular detail, for, amongst so many, it is almost im- 
possible but that some varieties and changes must occur. 

I must beg of you to return my thanks to ; Mr 

Eiebau also might not be displeased to hear the name of 
his former apprentice. 

' It is needless, dear mother, to tell you that I wish 
you well, and happy and prospering — you must know 
that my wishes cannot be otherwise ; and it is the same 
thing with ; and yet, though it is needless, I can- 
not help but say so. I expect that we shall leave this 


place, where there is very little indeed, except fine 
weather and a beautiful view of Mont Blanc, to detain 
us, about the middle of September, when we shall 
ascend a little northward and see a little of Germany, 
passing round the Alps to Venice ; and having seen 
that place for a day or two, we shall then take the most 
convenient road down Italy to Eome. It is Sir Hum- 
phry's intention to be at Florence about the middle of 
October, and at Eome about the middle of November ; 
but till we arrive there we shall be constantly moving 
about, and I shall therefore be able to receive no 
letters, after I leave this place, until I get there : but 
there I shall expect to find a whole packet. As letters 
are about a fortnight on the road between here and 
London, any letters sent after the first or second of 
September are likely to reach Geneva after I have 
left it, and will then probably be lost, or very much 
delayed, and, consequently, you will be so good as to 
act accordingly. When you write into the country, re- 
member me to all friends there, and also to all who 
may ask after me at home. There are some persons 
to whom I should be glad to be remembered, but as it 
is possible that such remembrances might raise unjust 
ideas and observations, I will delay them until I return 
home again. At present, dear Mother, good-bye (for 
when writing I seem to talk to you, and on leaving my 
paper it appears to me as a farewell). Farewell then, 
dear Mother, for a short time, when I hope again to 
find myself amongst you. 

' Yours with the firmest affection, 

' M. Faeaday.' 



' Geneva: September 6, 1814. 

' Dear B , It is with extreme pleasure that I 

pursue a correspondence which I find is not to be im- 
paired either by tiine, absence, or distance — a corre- 
spondence which has been dear to me fi'om the first 
moment of its existence, which I have found full of 
pleasure, and which I liave never regretted ; and its 
continuance continually gives me fresh proofs that it will 
ever remain, as it has been, a strong and iixeproachable 
source of instruction and amusement. I thank you, 
dear B., as earnestly as I can do for your long and kind 
letter, which I shall endeavour to answer as well as I 
can, though not in such a manner as it ought to be. I 
have not, I can truly assure you, enough time to write 
you a letter as long as your own ; I have a great deal 
of occupation, which leaves me but little to myself, and 
my journal is much behindhand ; and as we leave 
this place in eight or nine days, I shall have difficulty 
in arranging my things and clearing up my papers. My 
head at this moment is full of thought respecting you 
and me — respecting your uneasy situation and mine, 
which is not at all times pleasant and what I expected. 
Your last letter has partly collected these thoughts, and 
I shall probably state some of them on this sheet of 

' Some doubts have been expressed to me lately with 
respect to the continuance of the Eoyal Institution ; 
Mr. Newman can probably give a guess at the issue of 
them. I have three boxes of books, &c. there, and I 
should be sorry if they were lost by the turning up of 



unforeseen circumstances ; but I hope all will end well 
(you will not read this out aloud). Eemember me to 
all friends, if you please. And " now for you and I to 

' I was much hurt in mind to hear of your ill-health, 
and still more so to understand your uncomfortable situa- 
tion; for, from Avhat I have felt at times, I can judge of 
your feehngs under such a painful bondage. I am as 
yet but young, B., very unacquainted with the world, 
with men and manners, and too conscious of my 
ignorance to set up for a moraliser ; but yet, dear 
friend, I have not passed on to this day without a little 
experience ; and though not endued with the acutest 
powers of mind, I have been forced to notice many 
things which are of service to me, and may be useful 
to you. If they are, I shall not repent the trouble I 
give you ; and if they are not, you must attribute them 
to the warmth of my feeling for you. 

' You are, you inform me, in a situation where gain 
only is the object ; where every sentiment is opposed 
to yours ; where avarice has shut out every manly 
feeling ; where liberal thoughts and opinions are un- 
known ; where knowledge, except as it is subservient to 
the basest and lowest of feelings, is shut out ; where 
your thoughts, if not looking to the acquisition of money, 
are censured ; and where liberality and generosity never 
enter. These are things which I know to be so opposite 
to your mind and inclinations that I can well conceive 
your feehngs ; and, as if it were to increase those feelings, 
this disagreeable situation follows one that was perfectly 
pleasant and agreeable. 

' In passing through life, my dear friend, everyone 
must expect to receive lessons both in the school of 


prosperity and in that of adversity; and, taken in a 
general sense, these schools do not only include riches 
and poverty, but everything that may cause the happi- 
ness and pleasure of man, and every feeling that may 
give him pain. I have been in at the door of both those 
schools ; nor am I so far on the right hand at present 
that I do not get hurt by the thorns on my left. With 
respect to myself, I have always perceived (when, after 
a time, I saw things more clearly) that those things 
which at first appeared as misfortunes or evils ulti- 
mately were actually benefits, and productive of much 
good in the future progress of things. Sometimes I 
compared them to storms and tempests, which cause a 
temporary disarrangement to produce permanent good ; 
sometimes they appeared to me like roads — stony, un- 
even, hilly, and uncomfortable, it is true — but the only 
roads to a good beyond them ; and sometimes I said they 
were clouds which intervened between me and the sun 
of prosperity, but which I found were refreshing, re- 
serving to me that tone and vigour of mind which pro- 
sperity alone would enervate and ultimately destroy. I 
have observed that, in the progress of things, circum- 
stances have so worked together, without my knowing 
how or in what way, that an end has appeared which I 
would never have fancied, and which circumstances 
ultimately showed could never have been attained by 
any plans of mine. I have found also that those cir- 
cumstances which I have earnestly wished for, and 
which ultimately I have obtained, were productive of 
effects very diflerent to those I had assigned to them, 
and were oftentimes more unsatisfactory than even a 
disappointment would have been. I have experienced, 
too, that pleasures are not the same when attained as 



when sought after ; and from these things I have con- 
cluded that we generally err in our opinions of happi- 
ness and misery. I condole with you, dear B., most 
sincerely on the uneasiness of your situation, but at the 
same time I advise you to remember that it is an op- 
portunity of improvement that must not be lost in 
regret and repining. It is necessary for man to learn 
how to conduct himself properly in every situation, 
for the more knowledge he has of this kind the more 
able is he to cope with those he is at times sure to meet 
with. You have under your eye a copy of thousands, 
and you have the best opportunities of studying it. 
In noticing its errors you will learn to avoid them : what 
it has good, will by contrast appear more strongly; 
you will see the influence of the passions one on another, 
and may observe how a good feeling may be utterly 
destroyed by the predominance of an opposite one. 
Tou wiU perceive the gradual increase of the predomi- 
nant sentiment, and the mode in which it surrounds the 
heart, utterly debarring the access of opposite feehngs. 
At the same time, dear friend, you will learn to bear 
uneasy situations with more patience. You will look 
to the end, which may reward you for your patience, 
and you wiU naturally gain a tone of mind which will 
enable you to meet with more propriety both the pro- 
sperity and adversity of your future fortune. Eemem- 
ber that, in leaving your present situation, you may find 
a worse one, and that, though a prospect is fair, you 
know not what it may produce. You talk of travelling, 
and I own the word is seducing, but travelling does not 
secure you from uneasy circumstances. I by no means 
intend to deter you from it ; for though I should like to 
find you at home when I come home, and though I 


know how much the loss would be felt by our friends, 
yet I am aware that the fund of knowledge and of enter- 
tainment opened would be almost infinite. But I shall 
set down a few of my own thoughts and feelings, &c. in 
the same circumstances. In the first place then, my 
dear B., I fancy that when I set my foot in England I 
shall never take it out again ; for I find the prospect so 
different from what it at first appeared to be, that I am 
certain, if I could have foreseen the things that have 
passed, I should never have left London. In the second 
place, enticing as travelling is — and I appreciate fully its 
advantages and pleasures — I have several times been 
more than half decided to return hastily home ; but 
second thoughts have still induced me to try what the 
future may produce, and now I am only retained by the 
wish of improvement. I have learned just enough to per- 
ceive my ignorance, and, ashamed of my defects in every- 
thing, I wish to seize the opportmiity of remedying them. 
The httle knowledge I have gained in languages makes 
me wish to know more of them, and the Uttle I have 
seen of men and manners is just enough to make me 
desirous of seeing more ; added to which, the glorious 
opportunity I enjoy of improving in the knowledge of 
chemistry and the sciences continually determines me 
to finish this voyage with Sir Humphry Davy. But if I 
wish to enjoy those advantages, I have to sacrifice much ; 
and though those sacrifices are such as an humble man 
would not feel, yet I cannot quietly make them. Tra- 
velling, too, I find, is almost inconsistent with religion (I 
mean modern travelling), and I am yet so old-fashioned 
as to remember strongly (I hope perfectly) my youth- 
ful education ; and upon the whole, malgre the ad- 
vantages of traveUing, it is not impossible but that 



1814. you may see me at your door when you expect a 
-iET. 22. letter. 

' You will perceive, dear B., that I do not wish you 
hastily to leave your present situation, because I think 
that a hasty change will only make things worse. You 
will naturally compare your situation with others you 
see around you, and by this comparison your own will 
appear more sad, whilst the others seem brighter than 
in truth they are ; for, like the two poles of a battery 
the ideas of each will become exalted by approaching 
them. But I leave you, dear friend, to act in this case 
as your judgment may direct, hoping always for tlie 
best. I fear that my train of thoughts has been too 
dull in this letter ; but I have not yet attained to the 
power of equalising them, and making them flow in a 
regular stream. If you find them sad, remember that it 
was in thinking on you they fell, and then excuse them. 

' Sir Humphry works often on iodine, and has lately 
been making experiments on the prismatic spectrum at 
M. Pictet's. They are not yet perfected, but from the 
use of very delicate air thermometers, it appears that the 
rays producing most heat are certainly out of the spect- 
rum and beyond the red raj^s. Our time has been 
employed lately in fishing and shooting ; and many a 
quail has been killed in the plains of Geneva, and many 
a trout and grayling have been pulled out of the Ehone. 

■ *•*** 

' I need not say, dear Ben, how perfectly I am yours, 

' M. Fakaday.' 

Thursday, Oct. \Zth. — Vicenza Begging has 

increased wonderfully since we left Germany ; in- 


deed, it is almost the birthright of modern Italy. 
All are beggars in some way — the innkeepers by the 
postilion and by the ostlers beg, and the poor people 
of the country universally lay aside their work 
and run by the carriage begging. A shepherd will 
leave his flock at half a mile distant to beg at the road- 
side as the carriage passes, and the women will leave 
their huts and occupation to beg at the door. The 
children who are more agile and brisk, commence by 
certain ceremonies. Some will, on seeing a carriage at 
a distance, lie down in the middle of the road and kiss 
the ground, then rising on their knees, they remain in 
a praying position until it comes up to them ; and on 
its arrival, they run to the side, and beg in monosylla- 
bles of Carita, caro Dio, &c., &c. Unless sent away 
with something more to their liking than words, they 
will follow the carriage for nearly a mile. Others 
dexterously tumble head over heels five or six times, 
till the carriage approaches, and then proceed as the 
former ones ; and others vary the ceremonies still 
further. This detestable habit of universal begging is 
imbibed by the children even with the mother's milk ; 
and if they are not ready and prompt in their supplica- 
tion, they are punished by the parent and enjoined to 
still further efforts. It must produce a humiliating and 
depressing effect on the mind of the people in general, 
and appears as a curse spread over the country. 

Thursday, Oct. 20th. — Pietra Mala. On arriving this 
morning we made a halt, to see the remarkable pheno- 
menon called in this country II fuoco della pietra mala, 
or Fuoco di ligno, which is about a mile to the south 
of this little village. The account that I had heard of 
this phenomenon was as follows, — namely, that from a 


^^^^- certain spot of ground, about ten or twelve feet square, 
jet. 23. situated on the side of the mountain, and which ap- 
peared to be the same with the neighbouring soil, 
several flames of various sizes broke forth and were con- 
stantly burning. Some of these flames were about a foot 
in diameter and height, and others were not more than 
an inch or two in measure. In some places they were 
blue, in others red ; and in the nights of rainy weather 
so bright as to illuminate the neighbourhood to a con- 
siderable distance. If water was thrown on the flame, 
it would extinguish it for an instant, but soon it would 
spring up with redoubled force, — that combustible 
bodies could be easily burnt by the flame, but that the 
soil there appeared the same as in the neighbourhood, 
and, when not actually covered by the flame, not at 
all hot or even warm, — that M. Bernouille says water 
will easily extinguish it, but that the country people 
say, heavy rains only serve to augment its force, and that 
it was considered as the remains of an ancient volcano. 

Also that there were two other places in the neigh- 
bourhood of Pietra Mala, but in different directions, 
where flames were observed at times, but rarely ; and 
that at another place a fountain existed the waters of 
which were continually boiling, and inflamed on putting 
a light to them. This fountain was called L'Acqua 

Though it was raining hard, yet that of course would 
not deter Sir Humphry from visiting these places; but, 
at the same time, it made us wish to be as quick as 
possible. Sir Humphry therefore went to the first 
place, and I went to the Acqua boUente, conducted by 
a man of the village, who carried some fire, some 
straw, and some water. I found the place in a culti- 


vated field, not far from a mountain apparently of 
limestone. It was simply a puddle, perhaps formed by 
the present showers of rain. Much gas rose from the 
earth, and passed through the water, which made it 
appear boiling, and had given rise to its name ; but the 
water and the ground were quite cold. I made another 
puddle with the water we brought, near the one I 
found there, and I saw that the gas rose up through it 
also ; and it appeared to be continually passing off from 
a surface of more than eighteen inches in diameter. 
The soil appeared deep, and close to the spot supported 
vegetation readily. The man inflamed some straw and 
the'n laid it on the ground ; immediately the gas in- 
flamed, and the flame spread to some distance from the 
straw over the surface of the earth, waving about like the 
flame of weak spirits of wine : this flame burnt some mo- 
ments. On putting a light to the bubbles which rose 
through the water they inflamed, and sometimes a flame 
ran quickly from them over the whole surface of the 
water. I filled a bottle with the gas, but I could not dis- 
tinguish any smell in it. In pouring water into the bottle 
and lighting the jet of gas that came out, a large clear 
flame was obtained. The whole of this flame was a 
very pale blue, like spirits of Avine. It inflamed paper 
and matches readily, as might be expected ; and when 
I held a dry bottle or knife over it, they appeared to 
become dim by condensing water : but this was uncer- 
tain, as the weather was so rainy. The water had no 
taste, and seemed pure rain water. I brought some of 
it and the gas away, and returned to the village. 

Sir Humphry Davy told me that it was exactly 
similar to the one he had been to, except in the size of 
the flame, which was at his place near four feet in 

VOL. I. L 



^1814. height and diameter. The men extinguished it three 
Mt. 23. or four times, and it did not take fire spontaneously. 
It inflamed immediately on applying a hght, and burnt 
with a blue colour similar to spirits of wine. It rose 
from the earth between some stones ; but Sir Humphry 
saw no volcanic remains in the neighbourhood. The 
gas and the water were preserved for experiments at 

Wednesday, 26?A.— To-day a few hours were spent 
in the examination of the gas from Pietra Mala. The 
experiments were made at home, but the imperfection 
of the instruments admitted of no accurate examination. 
It was detonated in a long closed tube with oxygen 
over mercury by means of phosphorus, and it appeared 
probable that it contained carbon and hydrogen ; but 
no certain results were obtained. 

Thursday, 21th. — In the now almost deserted labora- 
tory of the Florentine Academy, Sir Humphry to-day 
made decisive experiments on the gas. The detonating 
tube was made with platina wires, inserted in it to 
take the spark, and various detonations were performed. 
2f ths of the gas, which appeared to have remained un- 
altered from the time I had collected it, were detonated 
with 5:^th of oxygen, and diminished to 3 ; and by agita- 
ting the remaining gas with a solution of pure potassa, 
it diminished to half a part. It appeared, therefore, 
that water and carbonic acid had been formed, and Sir 
Humphry concluded from the proportion that the gas 
was hght hydrocarburet, pure. When detonated with 
2i times its volume of chlorine, it diminished to about 
1, and charcoal was deposited on the sides of the 

Saturday, 29th. — We left Florence this morning, 


about seven. Women who ride here — and there are 
great numbers that do constantly — sit across the horses. 
We passed three genteelly-dressed ladies to-day who 
were riding so. They seemed good horsewomen : one 
of them had a very restless pony to manage. . . . 

Monday, November 1th. — This morning a man was 
punished by the civil authority close to our house, and 
the mode deserves notice from its singularity and its 
cruelty. I observed, the first day we came here, a 
gallows fixed up in the Corso next to our palace, 
vv^hich was not up when we were here before. It 
was about thirty or thirty-six feet high ; a large 
pulley was fixed at the end of it, and a strong rope 
ran through the pulley. A stone was fixed in the 
earth behind the gallows with an iron ring in it. This 
morning the crowd began early to collect about the 
place, and I learnt that some one was to suffer ; and 
about nine or half-past, the man was brought by a guard 
to the spot. He was placed under the gallows with his 
hands tied behind him, and the rope which belonged to 
the instrument was fixed to his hands. He was then 
drawn up to the top and let down again, and was thus 
mounted three times. It generally happens that from 
the way in which the man's hands and arms are placed — 
namely, behind him — dislocation of the shoulders ensues, 
and the man is crippled for life ; and this effect is more 
certainly produced as the crime of the man is greater. 
In the present case the man was drawn gently up, and 
let as gently down again ; but sometimes the motion 
is so rapid and violent as to put the sufferer to the 
greatest agony, and twist his whole body with pain. I 
saw the man after the punishment was finished. He 
was carried out of a neighbouring house where some 

L 2 



. ^^^'*- . restorative had been given to him. He was surrounded 
^T. 23. by an armed guard. His hands were tied behind, and 
on his breast was hung a large tablet with Per insolenza 
al militare on it. I heard that he had thrown mud 
at some soldiers. He seemed but little hurt by the 
punishment, and walked away with a firm, steady, 
quick pace. 

Saturday, 12th. — It is positively affirmed, that the 
civil punishment above spoken of has given so much 
offence to the people in general that the Pope has 
ordered it to be abolished. 

' Rome : November 10, 1814. Eeceived January 17. 

'Dear Mother, — Time goes very strangely with 
me — sometimes it goes quick, and at other times the 
same period seems to have passed slowly ; sometimes it 
appears but a few days since I wrote to you, and the 
next hour it seems hke months and years. This is 
owing to the nature of the mind of man, which, look- 
ing to what is at a distance when occupied by present 
circumstances, sees it not in its true form and state, but 
tinged by its own cast and situation. But though thus 
volatile and apparently unstable, yet I am at aU times, 
dear Mother, glad when I can by any means make an 
opportunity of writing to you ; for though however 
short the distance of time since the last letter may be, yet 
I have always something I should like to say ; and, in- 
deed, the moment a letter is out of my hands I remember 
something forgotten. It is now a long time, if I may 
trust to my feelings and the mode of measuring time, 
since I had any communication with you except by 
thought, and indeed longer than I expected, for I was 


in hopes of finding at the post-office here at least three 
or four letters for me ; but as they are not come, I 
content myself with anticipating the pleasure yet to be 
enjoyed of perusing them. Since I wrote to you or to 
England, we have moved over a large and very interest- 
ing space of ground. On leaving Geneva, we entered 
Switzerland, and traversed that mountainous and extra- 
ordinary country with health and fine weather, and 
were much diverted with the curious dresses and cus- 
toms of the country. When I come home (unless M.'s 
knowledge in geography, &c. anticipate me), I shall be 
able to amuse you with a description, but, at present, 
time (excuse the excuse) will not allow me. 

' From Switzerland we passed through the States of 
Baden, on the lake of Constance (they are very small), 
across an arm of the kingdom of Wurtemburg, and 
into Bavaria. In this route we had seen, though 
slightly, Lausanne, Vevay, Berne, Zurich, Schaffhausen, 
and the falls of the Ehine in Switzerland and Munich, 
and many other towns in Germany. On leaving Munich, 
we proceeded to and across the Tyrol, and got to 
Padua, and from Padua to Venice. . . After seeing 
Venice for three days we left it, and came towards 
Italy, passing Bologna and Florence. 

' I am always in health, generally contented, and 
often happy ; but, as is usual in every state of life, wish 
for that I have not, but most for my return home. 
I envy you the pleasure you must enjoy in each 
other's conversation, and from which I am excluded ; 
but I hope you wUl ameliorate this deprivation as far as 
you can by thinking at home of me. I mean quickly 

to write to , but, in the meantime, I should be 

happy to express through you my feehngs to them : 



they cannot for a moment doubt me, but at all times 
the testimony of remembrance is grateful and pleasing. 

When you see , give them my love in the most 

earnest manner you can ; though, indeed, it is scarcely 
necessary, for they, and — , and yourself, dear Mother, 
must be conscious that you constantly have it when any- 
thing, as a letter, &c., reminds you and them of me ; but 
paper is now scarce, and time advanced, and I must 
quickly leave this letter that it may come to you. But 
again, dear Mother, I beg of you to let me know quickly 
how you are, and how situated, as soon as possible. If 
right, present my humble respects to Mr. Dyer, and my 
remembrances to Mr. Eiebau and other friends, not 

forgetting . 

' Adieu, dear Mother, for a short time. As ever, 
your dutiful aflFectionate son, 

' M. Faeadat.' 


'Eome: Saturday, November 26, 1814. 

' What have I done or what have I said that I am 
to hear no more from England ? Da}- passes after day, 
week after week, but passes without bringing me the 
long-wished-for letters. Did you but know the pleasure 
they give me, did you but know the importance they 
are of to me, certain I am that compassion would in- 
duce you to write. Alone in a foreign country, amongst 
strangers, without friends, without acquaintances ; sur- 
rounded by those who have no congenial feeling with 
me, whose dispositions are opposite to mine, and whose 
employments offend me — where can I look for plea- 
sure but to the remembrances of my friends ? At home 
I have left those who are dear to me from a long 


acquaintance, a congeniality of mind, a reciprocal feel- 1814. 
ing of friendship, affection, and respect, as well for -sj^t. 23. 
their honour as their virtues ; here I find myself in the 
midst of a crowd of people, who delight in deceiving ; 
are ignorant, faithless, frivolous, and at second sight 
would be my friends. Their want of honour irritates 
me, their servility disgusts me, and their impertinence 
offends me ; and it is with a painful sensation I think of 
my friends when I remember I cannot do more. Why, 
then, do you delay so long that which is the greatest 
service you can do me? And since I have lost your 
company, let me at least have your thoughts ; since I 
cannot see you, let me see the work of your hand. 
Through my own imprudence I have lost for a time 
that source I did possess, for I have left at Geneva, 
with books, those letters I have received from you, my 
brother, and yours, and which I ought never to have 
separated so far from me. It is possible I may never 
see them again, and my fears tell me I may never 
receive any more, and even that the possibility exists 
of my being for ever separated from England. Alas ! 
how foolish perhaps was I to leave home, to leave 
those whom I loved, and who loved me, for a time 
uncertain in its length, but certainly long, and which 
may perhaps stretch out into eternity ! And what are 
the boasted advantages to be gained ? Knowledge. 
Yes, knowledge ; but what knowledge ? Knowledge 
of the world, of men, of manners, of books, and of 
languages — things in themselves valuable above all 
praise, but which every day shows me prostituted to 
the basest purposes. Alas ! how degrading it is to be 
learned when it places us on a level with rogues and 
scoundrels ! How disgusting, when it serves but to 


show US the artifices and deceits of all around ! How- 
can it be compared with the virtue and integrity of 
those who, taught by nature alone, pass through life 
contented, happy, their honour unsullied, their minds 
uncontaminated, their thoughts virtuous — ever striving 
to do good, shunning evil, and doing to others as they 
would be done by ? Were I by this long probation to 
acquire some of this vaunted knowledge, in what should 
I be wiser ? Knowledge of the world opens the eyes 
to the deceit and corruption of mankind ; of men, 
serves but to show the human mind debased by the 
vilest passions ; of manners, points out the exterior 
corruptions which naturally result from the interior ; 
of books, the most innocent, occasions disgust, when it 
is considered that even that has been debased by the 
corruptions of many ; and (knowledge) of languages 
serves but to show us in a still wider view what the 
knowledge of men and of manners teaches us. 

' What a result is obtained from our knowledge, and 
how much must the virtuous human mind be humiliated 
in considering its own powers, when at the same time 
they give him such a despicable view of his fellow- 
creatures ! Ah, B., I am not sure that I have acted 
wisely in leaving a pure and certain enjoyment for such 
a pursuit. But enough of it ; I will turn to more plea- 
sant recollections. I am so confident in you and the 
few friends I have in England, that I am quite sure it 
is not from any change of feeling, but from unfavour- 
able circumstances, that I have not yet received any 
letters from you at Eome. 

' I feel much interested in the Institution, and should 
much hke to know its probable issue. ... I hope that 


if any change should occur in Albemarle Street, Mr. 
Newman would not forget my books : I prize them now 
more than ever. Give my love again to your family 
and to mine. Adieu, dear Friend. 

' M. Faraday.' 


' Rome, December 21, 1814. 

' Dear Sister, — 

'Saturday, December 2ith. — Hail to the season ! May 
it bring every blessing down upon you ; may it fill your 
hearts with gladness and your minds with contentment ; 
may it come smihng as the mom which ushers in the 
glorious light of a summer's day, and may it never 
return to see you in sorrow and trouble ! My heart 
expands to the idea that Christmas is come, for I know 
that my friends, in the midst of their pleasures, will 
think of me. Amongst you. Friendship will celebrate 
it — here 'tis EeUgion. You wiU have sincerity amongst 
you, and we hypocrisy. This is a season in which 
modern Eome shows forth her spirit ; her chiu-ches (in 
number innumerable) are filled with the crowd, who in 
the same hour fill the streets with Licentiousness and 
riot. For the last week no balls have been allowed, 
and Qo theatres or places of amusement were or are 
yet opened. To-night the rehgious rites begin at 
Santa Maria Maggiore (a beautiful church) in honour 
of the Virgin ; and the child Jesus will be represented 
in a beautiful cradle richly decked with jewels and 
gold. Masses will be performed at this church all 
night ; and to-morrow aU the other churches wiU be 
open — St. Peter's amongst the rest. After to-morrow. 


the Pope loses his power for a week or more, and the 
Carnival begins ; and this Carnival raises all my ex- 
pectations, for the accounts I have heard of it make it 
a scene of confusion and foUy. Professed fools (deserv- 
ing of the title) parade the streets, and hold fearful 
combats armed with sugar plums. Eeligious clowns 
and every other kind of character fill the streets, and 
the whole world goes in masks. The theatres are 
opened. Puppet-shows shine in every corner, and the 
Italian character blazes in its full vigour. Such are 
the scenes with which I am surrounded ; but I draw 
from them to contemplate those I fancy passing at 
home, in which I hope to join again, and which to me 
wUl recur with tenfold pleasure. 

'But, dear Sister, though this frivolous spirit occu- 
pies the whole mind of a modem Eoman, and debases 
that empire which once stood hke a Colossus over the 
whole world, yet stiU this city, the seat of that empire, 
draws forth involuntary awe and respect. 

'How often I have wished that Mr. D. could see 
what I saw, that he could wander with me over the 
mighty wilderness of ruins the Colosseum presents — 
sometimes mounting, sometimes descending ; walking in 
the steps of the ancient Eomans, and leaning against 
the walls which resounded with their voices. Again, 
the ancient baths, each rich as palaces and large as 
towns : here their paintings are to be seen in their 
original station, the marble which they had worked, 
and the walls which they had formed. Again, the 
columns of Titus and Antoninus, or rather of Marcus 
Aurelius, enormous in size, covered with beautiful 
sculptures, and formed of marble. 

' Again, a thousand other objects, as tombs, temples, 


statues, pyramids, pillars, roads, &c., which continually 1814. 
fill the eye of a stranger. D. would be delighted with jEt. 23. 
them, and his art and skill would enable him to bring 
faithful ideas of them home. 

' God bless the little one, and you all together. I shall 
never feel quite happy till I get amongst you again. I 
have a thousand things to say, but I do not know 
which to say first ; and if I followed my mind I should 
never get to an end. 

' Adieu, dear Sister, for a time ; and believe me to be, 
ever and unalterably, your loving, and I hope beloved, 
brother, ' M. Faraday.' 


' Rome, DecemT)er 29, 1814 

' Dear Margaret, — I am very happy to hear that you 
got my letter, and I am as happy to say that I have 
received yours. I had the last yesterday, and to-day 
I write you an answer. I am greatly obhged to 
you for the information you give me, and for the kind 
interest you take in my health and welfare. Give 
my love with a kiss to mother the first thing you do 
on reading the letter, and teU her how much I think 
on her and you. I received a letter from Mr. A. late, 
who told me in it that you had spent a day in his 
house, and he thought that you were very well pleased 
with it ; and when you go to Mr. B.'s again, you 
must return humble thanks for me, and say how much 
I am honoured by his remembrance. I hope that 
all your friends are well, and I suppose that your 
correspondence is now very important. I am glad to 


hear that my niece E. is in favour with you, but you 
quite forgot to give me any news of S. I suppose 
thoughts of the first had put the last out of your head, 
which head, I fancy, has gained with these httle rela- 
tions a great deal of importance. 

' I am also pleased to hear that you go to school, and 
I hope that you have enough to do there. Your 
writing is not improved quite so much in one year as 
I expected it would be when I left home ; but, however, 
it is pretty well. Your I's are most in fault. You 
must make them thus, j. J. J. J. with smaller heads. 
My questions about Eome and Naples I did not 
expect you could answer, but I wished you to look 
into some book at school, or at Mr. Eiebau's or else- 
where, and give me the answers from them, at the 
same time fixing them in your memory. I gave them 
to you as lessons, and I still hope you will learn them. 
I hope that you do not neglect your ciphering and 
figures ; they are almost as necessary as writing, and 
ought to be learned even in preference to French. 
Of this last you say nothing, but I suppose you still 
work at it. I will tell you my way of learning the 
words. When in my grammar or in other books I 
meet with a word (and that happens often enough) 
that I do not know, I first write it down on a fair 
sheet of paper, and then look in my dictionary for 
its meaning ; and having found it, I put it down also, 
but on another part of the same sheet. This I do 
with every word I do not know very well, and my 
sheet of paper becomes a list of them, mixed and 
mingled together in the greatest confusion — English with 
French, and one word with another. This is generally 
a morning's work. In the evening I take my list of 


words and my dictionary, and beginning at the top, I 1814- 
go regularly down to the bottom. On reading the ^t. 23. 
words I endeavour to learn their pronunciation, and if 
I cannot remember the meaning in the other language, 
I look in the dictionary, and having found it, en- 
deavour to fix it in my memory, and then go to the 
next word. I thus go over the list repeatedly, and on 
coming to a word which I have by previous readings 
learned, I draw a line over it ; and thus my list grows 
little every evening, and increases in the morning, and 
I continually learn new and the most useful words 
from it. If you learn French and pursue this plan at 
home, you will improve in it very quickly. I must 
now, dear M., put an end to my letter. I have written 
to E., lately, and shall write to him again soon, tell 
him. I wish him every happiness. Give my warmest 
love, with your own, to mother (and say I wrote about 
a month ago, by favour, to her), and to E. and B. and 
Mr. G., and the little ones, and all your friends. Write 
again, at an opportunity, to your affectionate brother, 

'M. Faraday.' 

Wednesday, \ltli. — I have done nothing to-day but 
search for books which I cannot find — an employment 
which, though not successful, yet pleased me, as it 
took me into booksellers' shops. 

Tuesday, 24:th. — The Carnival has been the constant 
subject of conversation for several Aveeks, not only of 
strangers, but of the Eomans themselves. Willing to 
give importance to their city and its diversions, they 
tell us what it had been and what we might expect 
to see ; and from what they said, and from their evi- 
dent anxiety for its arrival and their preparations for 


it, I confess I expected a great deal. 'Tis a season in 
which the poorest beggar will enjoy himself, even 
though he strip his hole of everything it contains ; and 
when the whole population of a city like Eome joins 
together for the same end, one may be allowed to 
expect that the end will be well attained, and especially 
when it is pleasure. 

To-day is the first day of the Carnival, which is com- 
menced by the long-talked-of races. I felt very anxious 
to see these races, for the singularity of the place, added 
to my having heard of them in England, raised expecta- 
tion very high. But, as is generally the case with high 
expectations, mine were disappointed. About four 
o'clock I walked to the Corso, and found it very 
promising. It was hned on both sides with an immense 
number of people, some sitting on the scaffolds, and 
some standing about. Guards were placed on each 
side, at the edge of the foot pavement (or that which 
represented it), and the middle of the street was occu- 
pied by carriages and people that were passing up and 
down it (being the common Corso of Italy). Seeing 
that there was yet plenty of time, I walked up to the 
Piazza del Popolo, where the Corso begins, and from 
whence the horses were to start. There I paid my five 
baiocchi, and took my seat on a scaffold fixed under 
the obelisk, and which commanded a view of the whole 
length of the Corso ; and I amused myself for a short 
time in observing the preparations, which were cer- 
tainly worthy of a much better thing. . . . The Corso 
had been lengthened by two rows of booths into the 
middle of the place, and was terminated by the scafibld 
on which I stood. Just before the scaffold several 
strong posts were fixed up on each side of the 


ground, and a very thick rope stretched across at breast 
high. The booths at each side were filled with persons 
of consequence, and the whole place was covered with 
carriages, the owners of which wished to peep, but 
could not, unless they chose to herd with the multitude. 
At a quarter-past four two pint pots were fired off, and 
on a repetition of the signal in- about five minutes, the 
carriages all turned out of the Corso by the nearest 
side streets, and the pedestrians only remained in it. 
The guards now took their stations in a more orderly 
way ; a troop of horse rode gaily to the end of the 
Corso, but soon returned to the commencement at fall 
speed, and then no person was allowed to be in the 
open space between the guards. 

The horses, five in number, were now brought out 
by the master and his men, who were gaudily draped 
on this occasion ; and the horses themselves were not 
undecorated, though to them, as it often proves to us, 
their finery afterwards proved a pain. 

A very slight harness made of cord, &c. was put on 
them, to which were attached four tin plates, one on 
each flank, and one on each shoulder. Over these were 
fixed four balls of lead, set with six or eight sharp spikes 
each : they hung by a string or chain five or sis inches 
long. Their heads were decorated with a plume of 
feathers of various colours. 

There was not much time to be spared when the 
horses came out ; as soon as they saw the Corso and the 
people they were eager to set off. Six or eight men 
held each horse by his shoulders, his tail, his mane, &c. 
But with one horse these were not sufficient. He got 
over the starting rope and dragged the men with him, 
and the master cried out he could hold the horse no 



_Jf^^ longer. The trumpet sounded, the rope dropped, and 
^T. 23. the animals were instantly at Ml speed. They took 
the middle of the Corso, and proceeded very directly 
to the other end. The plates of tin soon flew off, and 
the spiked balls beating the sides of the animals, and 
the cries of the people as they passed, were enough to 
frighten any EngUsh horse. They started very regularly, 
but one was soon six or eight yards before the others, and 
got in first. The mode of stopping them is by a cloth 
stretched across the end of the Corso, at sight of which 
they generally stop of themselves ; but lest they should 
run against it and bring it down, a second is fixed up 
a few yards behind the first. 

They profess to make the Corso open for any per- 
son's horse, but they are generally the property of one 
man, and trained up to the sport. It is said that, 
some few years ago, an Enghsh horse ran with the 
others, but not knowing the customs of the country, he 
passed the barriers and ran out of Eome. In the time 
of the Trench government the prize was 300 francs for 
the first horse ; but the thing which repays the mas- 
ter is the subscription of the people in general. He 
parades the street for two or three days before the 
races, with his horses mounted by riders carrying flags, 
&c., and he gets abundantly sufficient to remunerate 
him and to leave a pretty surplus besides. 

Sunday, 2^ih. — A mask ball takes place to-night, or, 
more correctly, it is to begin at one o'clock to-morrow 
morning, and end at six o'clock. 



' Rome, January 25, 1815. 

'Dear B , I begin this letter in a very cheerful 

state of mind, which enables me to see things with 
as correct an eye as it is possible for my weak judg- 
ment to do, unless, indeed, I see them too favour- 
ably; but, at all events, I hope you will not have 
occasion, in your answer to this letter, to repeat what 
you have said in your last. I have received both the 
letters which you have directed to me at Eome. I 
have too much to say at present to waste words in 
thanking you for them. You know how great their 
value is to me, and the return I can give that will be 
most welcome to you is to answer them. It happens 
fortunately indeed that the first is in part answered, 
and I am not sure that I can say much more in return 
for it on this sheet of paper, or even on another, if I 
happen to extend my blotting. It was my intention 
when I read it to give you some account of the various 
waterfalls I had seen, but now I have more important 
and fresher subjects to treat of, and shall reserve them 
fur another time. By important I do not mean impor- 
tant in itself, but only with respect to the waterfalls, and 
you must understand the word in that sense. I cannot, 
however, refrain from saying how much I feel obliged 
to you for your information respecting the health of 
my mother and our family, and hope that you will 
always have the charity to continue such information as 
far as lies in your power. 

' Though it may appear somewhat consequential that 
I begin the letter with ray own affairs, yet such is my 
intention at present. You found me in the last squab- 

VOL. I. M 


bling almost with all tlie world, and crying out against 
things which truly in themselves are excellent, and 
which indeed form the only distinction between man 
and beasts. I scarce know now what I said in that letter 
(for I have not time to take copies of them, as you 
supposed), but I know I wrote it in a ruffled state of 
mind, which, by the bye, resulted from a mere trifle. 
Your thoughts on knowledge, which you gave me in 
return, are certainly much more correct than mine ; 
that is to say, more correct than those I sent you ; 
which indeed are not such as I before and since have 
adopted. But I did not mean to give them to you as 
any settled opinion. They ran from my pen as they 
were formed at that moment, when the little passions 
of anger and resentment had hooded my eyes. 

' You tell me I am not haj)py, and you wish to share 
in my difficulties. I have nothing important to tell 
you, or you should have known it long ago ; but since 
your friendship makes you feel for me, I will trouble 
you with my trifling affairs. The various passions and 
prejudices of mankind influence, in a greater or less 
degree, every judgment that men make, and cause 
them to swerve more or less from the fine love of 
rectitude and truth into the wide plain of error. 

' Errors thus generated exert their influence in pro- 
ducing still greater deviations, until at last, in many 
points, truth is overthrown by falsehood, and delusive 
opinions hold the places of just maxims and the dic- 
tates of nature. Nothing shows this truth more plainly 
than the erroneous estimation men make of the thino-s, 
the circumstances, and the situations of this world. 
Happiness is supposed to exist in that which cannot 
possibly give it. Pleasures are sought for where they 


are not to be found ; perfection is looked for in the 
place from which it is most distant, and things truly 
valuable are thrown aside because their owner cannot 
estimate them. Many repine at a situation, others at 
a name, and a vast multitude because they have neither 
the one nor the other. 

' I fancy I have cause to grumble, and yet I can 
scarcely tell why. If I approve of the system of 
etiquette and valuation formed by the world, I can 
make a thousand complaints ; but perhaps if I acted, 
influenced by the pure and unsullied dictates of com- 
mon sense, I should have nothing to complain of, and 
therefore all I can do is to give you the circumstances. 

' When Sir Humphry Davy first made proposals to 
me to accompany him in the voyage, he told me that I 
should be occupied in assisting him in his experiments, 
in taking care of the apparatus, and of his papers and 
books, and in writing, and other things of this kind ; 
and I, conceiving that such employment, with the op- 
portunities that travelling would present, would tend 
greatly to instruct me in what I desired to know and 
in things useful in life, consented to go. Had this 
arrangement held, our party would have consisted of 
Sir Humphry and Lady Davy, the lady's maid, Le 
Fontaine (Sir H.'s valet), and myself; but a few days 
before we came off, Le Fontaine, diverted from his in- 
tention by the tears of his wife, refused to go, and thus 
a new arrangement was necessary. When Sir H. 
informed me of this circumstance, he expressed his 
sorrow at it, and said he had not time to find another to 
suit him (for Le Fontaine was from Flanders, and spoke 
a little Italian as well as French), but that if I would 
put up with a few things on the road, until he got to 

M 2 


Paris, doing those things wliicli could not be trusted to 
strangers or waiters, and which Le Fontaine would have 
done, he would there get a servant, which would leave 
me at liberty to fill my proper station and that alone. I 
felt unwilling to proceed on this plan ; but considering 
the advantages I should lose, and the short time I 
should be thus embarrassed, I agreed. At Paris he could 
find no servant to suit him, for he wished for one that 
spoke English, French, and a little German (I speaking 
no French at that time), and as all the English there 
(ourselves excepted) were prisoners, and none of the 
French servants talked English, our want remained 
unsupplied ; but to ease me he took a lacquais de place, 
and living in an hotel, I had few things to do out of my 
agreement. It will be useless to relate our progress in 
the voyage as it relates to this affair moi-e particularly. 
A thousand reasons which I have now forgot caused 
the permanent addition of a servant to our family to 
be deferred from time to time, and we are at present 
the same number as at first. Sir Humphry has at all 
times endeavoured to keep me from the performance 
of those things which did not form a pai-t of my duty, 
and Avhich might be disagreeable ; and whenever we 
have been fixed, I have had one or more servants placed 
under me. We have at present, although in an hotel, 
two men servants ; but as it is always necessary to hold 
a degree of subordination in a human family, and as a 
confidential servant is also necessary to the master, and, 
again, as I am the person in whom Sir Humphry trusts, 
it obliges me to take a more active share in this part of 
my present occupation tban I wish to do ; and in having 
to see after the expenses of the family, I have to see also 
after the servants, the table, and the accommodations. 


' I should have but little to complain of were I travel- ^ 1815. 
ling with Sir Humphry alone, or were Lady Davy like ^t. 23. 
hira ; but her temper makes it oftentimes go wrong 
with me, with herself, and with Sir H. 

' Finally, Sir H. has no valet except myself ; but having 
been in an humbler station, and not being corrupted by 
high life, he has very little occasion for a servant of 
that kind, and 'tis the name more than the thing which 
hurts. I enjoy my original employment in its full 
extent, and find few pleasures greater than doing so. 
Thus, dear B., I have answered your kind inquiries by 
a relation of my circumstances ; things that were not 
of consequence enough to put in a letter before you 
asked for them. As things stand now, I may perhaps 
finish the voyage in my present company, though, with 
my present information, I should not hesitate to leave 
them in any part of the world, for I now know I could 
get home as well without them as with them. At all 
events, when I return home, I fancy I shall return to 
my old profession of bookseller, for books still continue 
to please me more than anything else. I shall now, 
dear friend, turn the subject, or rather change it for 
Philosophy, and hope, in so doing, to give you pleasure 
in this letter. I say this more confidently because I in- 
tend to give you an account of a paper just finished by 
Sir Humphry, of which one copy has already been sent 
by post, as a letter to the Eoyal Society, and all the expe- 
riments and demonstration of which I have witnessed. 

' When we were at Naples the Queen gave Sir H. a 
pot of colour which was dug up in their presence. It 
contained a blue paint in powder. At Milan a gentle- 
man had some conversation with Sir H., and gave him 



some pieces of blue glass from Adrian's villa at Eome ; 
and since we have been here this time, the opportunity 
afforded, and the former hints, have induced Sir H. to 
undertake an examination of the ancient Grecian and 
Eoman colours, with an intent to identify them, and to 
imitate such as were known. I shall give you a very 
brief account of this paper, putting down results, dis- 
coveries, and such parts as I think will be most interest- 
ing to you. 

' I am ashamed, dear B., to send you this imperfect 
account of so valuable a paper, but I trust that ray 
willingness to give you news will plead my excuse. I 
hope you will soon read a copy of the paper at large, 
and have no doubt you will perceive on every page the 
inquiring spirit of the author. 

' I must not forget the proof you have given me of 
your feelings, truly of friendship, in the dilemma, and 
I am extremely sorry that I should in any way have 
occasioned you embarrassment. I am indebted much 
to you for your care in concealing such things as you 
supposed I intended for you alone. They were written 
for you alone ; but, at the same time, I did not wish 
that my mother should remain ignorant of them. I 
have no secrets from her, and it was the insignificance 
alone that made me quiet on the subject. I would 
rather my mother should see or hear the first sheet of 
this paper than otherwise, for where the causes are 
open, the conduct can be better judged of. With this 
part you can do as you please ; but there is as yet little 
in it can interest her, and I do not know that I shall 
add much more 



' I must, however, tell you that we are in the midst ^8^^- 
of the Carnival, a scene of great mirth and jollity ^t. 23. 
amongst the Eomans. 


' I went this morning to a masquerade ball, between 
two and five o'clock, and found it excellent. 

' Now for news ! ! ! We shall part in a few weeks 
(pray write quickly) for Naples, and from thence proceed 
immediately to Sicily. Afterwards our road is doubt- 
ful ; but this much I know, that application is made for 
passports to travel in the Turkish Empire, and to reside 
in Constantinople; that it is Sir Humphry's intention 
to be amongst the Greek Islands in March, and at Athens 
early in the spring. Thus you see, B., a great extension 
is made to our voyage — an extension which, though it 
promises much novelty and pleasure, yet I fear will 
sadly interrupt our correspondence. Have the goodness, 
therefore, to write quickly, and tell all my friends that 
you can to do the same, or I shall not get the letters. 
I shall make a point of writing to you as long and as 
late as I can. 

' I will not pretend to know whether it is time to 
leave off or not, but I think it is impossible for you to 
get through this letter of twelve pages in less than 
three or four readings. How it has got to such a 
length I know not, for I have as yet read no part of it 
over ; and even now I find I could write you a long 
letter, were this and the subjects of it annihilated; but I 
must cut it short. Pray remember me with the strongest 
affection to my mother and friends, and to your family. 
(Excuse the repetition.) 

' Adieu, dear friend. With you I have no ceremony ; 



. ^^^^- . the warmest wishes that friendship can dictate are 
Mt. 23. formed for you by 

' M. Faraday. 

' Le donne Italiane sono sfacciate, pigrissime e spor- 
chissime. Come dunque volete fare una comparazione 
fra loro e 1' Inglese ? Addio, euro amico ! ' 

Monday, BOth. — Went in a domino to the mask ball 
this morning, and was much amused, though there were 
but few people, and the greater number were in tlieir 
common day-dress. The theatre in which it was held 
was a very fine one, large and in excellent condition, 
and extremely well lighted. A vast number of chande- 
liers were suspended from all parts of the roof and filled 
with wax-candles, and every box was also lighted up. 
The stage and the pit were thrown together by a flight 
of steps. The pit was given for waltzing and the stage 
for cotillon and country dances, and two good bands of 
music were employed in the theatre. Other rooms in 
the wings were tlirown open, some for dancing and 
some for refreshments. The three lower tiers of boxes 
were shut, but the rest were open to the maskers and 
the people in the house. A guard of soldiers was 
placed in the house to preserve order, and a gentleman 
in black with a cocked hat sat in the centre box and 
overlooked the whole. He appeared to enjoy the scene 
very slightly, and was, I suppose, there as fulfilling a 
duty in looking over the whims of the place. 

In the afternoon there was much masking in the 
Corso, and the sugar plums, which were only seen in the 
sellers' baskets on the first evening, were now flying in the 
air. These confetti, as they are called, are merely plaster 


or old mortar broken into small pieces, and dropped 
in a mixture of whiting ; but the men take care to sell 
them dear, though the price generally depends upon 
the eagerness of the purchaser at any moment to have 
them. With these the battles are carried on between 
mask and mask, or between carriage and carriage. 
None but masks are allowed to throw, though this rule 
is transgressed from every window. The most dreadful 
contests are carried on between the carriages as they 
pass each other, and I found the English were much 
more eager at this sport than the Eomans. I know 
an English window from which eight crowns' worth of 
confetti were thrown this afternoon. 

In my way to the Academy Lanesi I made a great 
blunder — I mistook a burial for part of the mas- 
querade ! ! ! But from the habits of the priests and 
mourners who attended it, it might be thought the mis- 
take was theirs who put rehgion in those things, rather 
than mine who took it for masking. Their sackcloth 
coats, very similar to what the masked clowns and 
Punchinellos wear, their enormous knotted cords tied 
round their waists, their sandals, and their caps, like a 
brewer's straining-bag, with two little holes for the eyes, 
were as complete a mask as it is possible to make ; 
and it was not till by chance I saw the body that I 
thought it was a serious afiair. 

Wednesday, February 1st. — Experiments at home aU 
day on a new solid compound of iodine and oxygen, 
which Sir Humphry discovered on Monday. It is 
formed by the action of euchlorine on iodine, which 
produces at the same time the compound of iodine and 
chlorine, and of iodine and oxygen. Its properties are 
many and curious, and it has enabled Sir H. to demon- 



strate (abroad) the truth of his ideas respecting iodine 
and its various compounds and combinations. 

Monday, 6th. — Went to this morning's masked ball in 
a domino, and found it very full ; as no one knew me, 
at least for some hours, I amused myself a good deal 
with such as I was acquainted with. I stopped there 
till daylight, and then came home. 

Tuesday; 7th. — To-day is the last of the Carnival, and 
all Eome swarmed with masks : they were in every 
corner, just as you find the fleas there, and the quantity 
of confetti thrown away was astonishing. A race of nine 
horses cleared the Corso for a short time ; but as if 
really to give a long adieu to the season, the carriages 
and masks entered again. They were, however, re- 
strained from paying the last ceremonies to their de- 
parting pleasures, for the Pope would not allow of 
what had always taken place till this year. It had 
been the custom of the masks to promenade, on this 
the last day, with lighted tapers in their hands, crying 
out 3Iort' e Carnevale ; but now that the Pope himself 
was at Eome, he would not allow of such a mockery 
of their burial service, which they wish to have con- 
sidered as something serious. 

To-night's ball was the last of the profane pleasures 
the season allowed them, and indeed it was well en- 
joyed. I found all Eome there, and all the English 
besides. It was too full for dancing, and the amuse- 
ment was principally the jokes of those that were 
not known to those whom they knew. I was in a 
nightgown and nightcap, and had a lady with me 
whom I had not seen till that night, but who knew all 
my acquaintances ; and between us we puzzled thern 
mightily, and we both came away well entertained. 


' Rome : January 12, 1815. Received February 5. 

'Dear Friend, — I hasten to make use of another 
opportunity, which the kindness of Sir Humphry Davy 
offers to me, to pay you a letter which I have long but 
unwillingly owed you. 

' Eome is far more amusing, pleasant, and interesting 
now than it was the last time we were here. We have 
now swarms of English about us, who keep this part of 
the world constantly in motion. Tlie season is more 
interesting, the weather is very mild and fine, and 
the Carnival approaches ; added to which, time has 
added a little more to my stock of Italian, and I find 
myself more capable of searching out and inquiring 
for things and information. 

' It happened, about three weeks ago, that a senator 
was elected ; and upon the addition of a member to 
that august body, the Senate of Eome, it was said that 
fine doings would take place. A procession was pro- 
mised to please the mob, and give them a high opinion 
of their new director ; but as the weather happened to 
be bad on the day fixed, it was very unceremoniously 
put off as a thing of httle importance. Now this opinion 
of it may be very correct, for I should think 'twas of 
no importance at all, but for such an arrangement to 
be altered, which had been made by the government, 
tended to give very hght ideas of the government it- 
self. The procession, however, took place on the first 
day of the year, when the weather was beautiful, and 
the town shone forth in great splendour. In the morn- 



. ^^^^- iug, preparations were made by spreading mould along 
JEt. 23. those streets through which the procession was likely to 
pass in its way from Monte Cavallo, the Pope's palace, 
to the Campidoglio, or Capitol, where the senate house 
stands. About twelve o'clock, the fronts of the houses 
in those streets were highly decorated by tapestry and 
hangings suspended from the windows, many pieces 
of which had moved from the floors, and many from 
the beds. About three o'clock, the procession moved, 
and made a pretty sight enough, but certainly not what 
I expected for a Eoman senator : it was clean and in 
good order, but short, and neither the Pope nor the 
cardinals were there. 

• ■ ■ ■ ■ • 

' Yours ever and sincerely, 

' M. Faeadat.' 

Saturday, 11th. — Experiments at home on the new 
compound of oxygen and chlorine which Sir Humphry 
discovered a few days ago. It is a gas of a very bright 
greenish colour, which detonates into chlorine and oxy- 
gen by a heat a httle above that of boihng water. It 
was detonated in a comparative experiment against 
chlorine. One volume increased to nearly 1^ in both 
experiments ; but the products of the decomposed new 
gas contained 1 of oxygen and ^ of chlorine, and the 
products of the detonated euchlorine were 1 of chlorine 
and 4 of oxygen. A small piece of phosphorus intro- 
duced into it caused a spontaneous detonation. A solu- 
tion of it, by its action on solution of the alkalies, gra- 
dually formed hyperoxymuriates, &c. 



' Rome : February 13, 1816. 

' My dear Mother, — .... I wrote lately to B., and 

put the letter in the post : I do not know when he will 

get it, or whether he will get it at all ; but if he does, 

he will tell you that we are going to Greece and Turkey 

immediately. I thought we were going there, but at 

present things seem a little more unsettled. We go 

shortly to Naples, and, if we can, from Naples to Sicily ; 

afterwards I know not what road we shall take : perhaps 

we shall go immediately by water to the Archipelago 

or Grecian Islands, or perhaps we may return, up Italy 

again, across the Alps, see Germany, and then pass, by 

Carynthia, Illyria, and Dalmatia, into Turkey. Things 

being in this state, I can say nothing more particular 

about the road at present, though I can tell you to a 

moral certainty that we are to see Constantinople. 

' The mention of these places calls England to my 
mind, now farther from me than any of them ; and 
much as I wish to see these places, yet the idea of 
England fiUs my mind, and leaves no room for thoughts 
of other nations : 'tis still the name which closes the 
list, and 'twill ever be the place I am desirous of seeing 
last and longest. Our travels are amusing and instruc- 
tive, and give great pleasure ; but they would be dull 
and melancholy indeed if the hope of returning to 
England did not accompany us in them. But how- 
ever, dear Mother, circumstances may divide us for a 
time, and however immense the distance may be be- 
tween us, whatever our respective states may be, yet 
never shall I refrain from using my utmost exertions to 
remind you of me. At that distance to which we may 


. ^^^^- . go, I shall despair of hearing from you ; but if it is 
-ffiT. 23. possible, my letters shall find you out, and I trust you 
will never be tired of them. 

' Give my kindest love to and , and my re- 
membrances to all who ask yen of me. And believe 
me, dear Mother, ever your most sincere and affectionate 
son, ' M. Fakaday.' 


' Eome : February 13, 1815. 

' Dear Huxtable, — .... As for me, like a poor 
unmanned, unguided skiff, I pass over the world as the 
various and ever-changing winds may blow me ; for a 
few weeks I am here, for a few months there, and 
sometimes I am I know not where, and at other times 
I know as little where I shall be. The change of place 
has, however, thrown me into many curious places and 
on many interesting things ; and I have not failed to 
notice, as far as laid in my power, such things as struck 
me for their importance or singularity. You will sup- 
pose that Sir H. Davy has made his route as scientific 
as possible, and you must know that he has not been 
idle in experimental chemistry ; and, still further, his 
example did great things in urging the Parisian che- 
mists to exertion. Since Sir H. has left England, he 
has made a great addition to chemistry in his re- 
searches on the nature of iodine. He first showed 
that it was a simple body. He combined it with chlo- 
rine and hydrogen, and latterly with oxygen, and thus 
has added three acids of a new species to the science. 
He combined it with the metals, and found a class of 
salts analogous to the hyperoxymuriates. He still 


further combined these substances, and investigated 
their curious and singular properties. 

' The combination of iodine with oxygen is a late 
discovery, and the paper has not yet perhaps reached 
the Eoyal Society. This substance has many singular 
properties. It combines both with acids and alkalies, 
forming with acids crystalline acid bodies; and with 
the alkaline metal oxyiodes, analogous to the hyper- 
oxymuriates. It is decomposed, by a heat about that 
of boiling oil, into oxygen and iodine, and leaves no 
residuum. It confirms all Sir H.'s former opinions and 
statements, and shows the inaccuracy of the labours of 
the French chemists on the same subjects. 

' Sir Humphry also sent a long paper lately to the 
Eoyal Society on the ancient Greek and Eoman co- 
lours, which will be worth your reading when it is 
printed ; but if you please, for present satisfaction, Mr. 
B. Abbott can and will, I have no doubt, with pleasure 
read you a short account of it. 

'Sir H. is now working on the old subject of chlo- 
rine, and, as is the practice with him, goes on discover- 
ing. Here, however, I am not at liberty to say much, 
but you may know that he has combined chlorine and 
oxygen in proportions differing from those of euchlo- 
rine. The new substance is a very beautiful yellow- 
green-coloured gas, much deeper than euchlorine. 
It explodes when heated with a sharp report, and 1 
volume gives 1 of oxygen and ^ chlorine nearly ; 
whereas 1 of euchlorine gives 1 of chlorine and ^ of 
oxygen : so that the new gas contains four times as 
much oxygen to the same volume of chlorine that 
euchlorine does. 

' I beg to be excused for thus intruding subjects 



which, perhaps, now have no charm for you, for 
your time I suppose is filled with medicine ; but I hope 
you will attribute it to my wish to give a little value 
at least to my letter ; and in whatever way you may 
receive it, I will still maintain that Sir H.'s discoveries 
are valuable. But I find my time runs short, though 
my subjects are not yet exhausted. 

' I present, with the certainty of their being accepted, 
the best wishes of yours, ever sincerely, 

' M. Faeaday.' 


' Eome : Februai-y 23, 1815. 

' Dear B , In a letter of above twelve pages 

I gave answers to your question respecting my situ- 
ation. It was a subject not worth talking about, but 
I consider your inquiries as so many proofs of your 
kindness and the interest you take in my welfare, 
and I thought the most agreeable thanks I could make 
you would be to answer them. The same letter also 
contained a short account of a paper written by Sir 
Humphry Davy on ancient colours, and some other 
miscellaneous matters. 

' I am quite ashamed of dwelling so often on my 
own affairs, but as I know you wish it, I shall briefly 
inform you of my situation. I do not mean to employ 
much of this sheet of paper on the subject, but refer 
you to the before-mentioned long letter for clear in- 
formation. It happened, a few days before we left 
England, that Sir H.'s valet decHned going with him, 
and in the short space of time allowed by circumstances 


another could not be got. Sir H. told me he was very ^815. 
sorry, but that, if I would do such things as were ab- -SIt. 23. 
solutely necessary for him until he got to Paris, he 
should there get another. I murmured, but agreed. At 
Paris he could not get one. No Englishmen were 
there, and no Frenchman fit for the place could talk 
Enghsh to me. At Lyons he could not get one ; at 
Montpellier he could not get one ; nor at Genoa, nor 
at Florence, nor at Eome, nor in all Italy ; and I believe 
at last he did not wish to get one : and we are just the 
same now as we were when he left England. This 
of course throws things into my duty which it was 
not my agreement, and is not my wish, to perform, 
but which are, if I remain with Sir H., unavoidable. 
These, it is true, are very few ; for having been accus- 
tomed in early years to do for himself, he continues to 
do so at present, and he leaves very little for a valet to 
perform ; and as he knows that it is not pleasing to me, 
and that I do not consider myself as obliged to do them, 
he is always as careful as possible to keep those things 
from me which he knows would be disagreeable. But 
Lady Davy is of another humour. She likes to show 
her authority, and at first I found her extremely 
earnest in mortifying me. This occasioned quarrels 
between us, at each of which I gained ground, and 
she lost it ; for the frequency made me care nothing 
about them, and weakened her authority, and after each 
she behaved in a milder manner. Sir H. has also 
taken care to get servants of the country, ycleped 
lacquais de place, to do everything she can want, and 
now I am somewhat comfortable; indeed, at this 
moment I am perfectly at liberty, for Sir H. has gone 
to Naples to search for a house or lodging to which we 

VOL. I. N 


may follow him, and I have nothing to do but see 
Eome, write my journal, and learn Italian. 

' But I will leave such an unprofitable subject, and 
tell you what I know of our intended route. For the 
last few weeks it has been very undecided, and at this 
moment there is no knowing which way we shall turn. 
Sir H. intended to see Greece and Turkey this summer, 
and arrangements were half made for the voyage ; but 
he has just learned that a quarantine must be per- 
formed on the road there, and to this he has an utter 
aversion, and that alone will perhaps break up the 

' Since the long letter I wrote you, Sir H. has 
written two short papers for the Eoyal Society — the 
first on a new solid compound of iodine and oxygen, 
and the second a new gaseous compound of chlorine 
and oxygen, which contains four times as much oxygen 
as euchlorine. 

' The discovery of these bodies contradicts many parts 
of Gay-Lussac's paper on iodine, which has been very 
much vaunted in these parts. The French chemists 
were not aware of the importance of the subject until it 
was shown to them, and now they are in haste to reap 
all the honours attached to it ; but their haste opposes 
their aim. They reason theoretically, without demon- 
strating experimentally, and errors are the result. 

' I intended at first to give you some account of 
waterfalls in this sheet, but I fancy only the name will 
be seen, for (not I, but) the bearer of this letter has no 
more time to allow me. 

' I am, my dear Friend, yours ever and faithfully, 

' M. Faraday.' 


Friday, March Zrd. — Left Tondi ; the first two stages 
rode a saddle-horse. Now, though I am no rider, yet 
the circumstance must not be attributed to me alone 
that the horse and I were twice heels over head, but 
rather it is a wonder that it did not happen oftener in 
nine miles. A tailor would have said that the horse 
was religious, and that it only did as other Italians do 
when they grow old and feeble ; but that did not 
satisfy me, and I would rather have had a beast that 
would have gone on orderly upon his legs. 

Tuesday, March 1th. — I heard for news that Bona- 
parte was again at liberty. Being no politician, I did 
not trouble myself much about it, though I suppose it 
will have a strong influence on the affairs of Europe. 

Thursday, l&th. — I intended this morning to dedi- 
cate this day to Pompeii, but on Sir Humphry's asking 
me whether I would go with him to Monte Somma, I 
changed my mind. We left Naples about 10.30, and 
took the usual road to Eesina. The weather was clear, 
the atmosphere heavy, the wind fair for ascending 
Vesuvius, which rose before us as the gates of another 
world, and was still marked by yesterday's fall of snow. 
At Eesina we bought bread and oranges, and then 
began the ascent. After an hour spent amongst the 
vineyards we came upon the plain of lava, and crossed 
on towards Monte Somma. Here the guide pointed 
out some particular stream of this matter. We crossed 
the lava of 1814. Its surface was very rough and 
craggy, as if it had issued out in a state of imperfect 
fusion and almost ready to become solid at the moment, 
yet it was not more than eleven or twelve inches thick. 
The old lava (17...?) had a very different appearance. 
It had been, if not more fusible, more fluid, and had 

N 2 



flowed flatter and smoother. It was even thinner than 
the former. 

We now began to ascend the hill of the Hermitage, 
and here the guide pointed out cinders or ashes of the 
same kind, and of the same shower, that overwhelmed 
Pompeii ; and it is of these, and of volcanic products 
more ancient, which Sir Humphry gave to a period 
of time long before Pliny, that this hill is formed. We 
made no stop at the Hermitage, except to view the plain 
which we had just left below lis, and to note the direc- 
tions of the currents. Here the guide again reverted 
to the old lava of 17..? and related in what manner 
it was approaching to Naples itself, and the rapid ad- 
vances it made every hour, insomuch that it had soon 
passed many other streams of lava, and begun to menace 
the city, when good St. Januarius went to it, and stand- 
ing before it with a crucifix in his hand, he raised it in 
front of the burning river, and bade it stop, which it 
immediately did, and became firmly fixed in the same 
place. It is not always, however, that the image or 
saint possesses such virtue or faith, and then curious 
contests arise between the people and their ineffectual 
protector, and even the Virgin Mary has been so much 
abused as to have phlegm thrown in her face. 

After a little further progress I left Sir Humphry, for 
he intended to see Monte Somma only, and I wished to 
ascend the cone of Vesuvius. I therefore continued my 
way alone along the lake of lava, and soon gained the 
foot of the cone, where I found several asses and eight 
men Avho belonged to a company then up the mountain. 
On hearing that the state of things was altered above, 
and was no longer as when I saw it before, I took a 
guide with me, and began to climb. After a little while 


I saw the company above me just coming over the edge 
of the hill, and it was at this moment I gained a correct 
idea of the size of this ash hill. From the uniformity 
of its figure and inclination, the eye is deceived, and 
thinks it much smaller than it really is ; but when I saw 
some moving spots at the summit, and, by the guide's 
assistance, distinguished them to be men, I was aware 
in some measure of the immense space between them 
and me. We continued to ascend regularly, except at 
intervals when we turned round to enjoy the fine view 
from this elevated spot. The company now approached 
us, sending down a shower of stones before them. The 
ascending and descending path is different, so that no 
one is in danger from a blow, except such as are first of 
the descending corps, but in them inattention would be 
dangerous. In thirty minutes we gained the edge of 
the crater, and got on flatter, i.e. less inclined ground, 
for as to smoothness, it was much rougher than the hill. 
The fatigue of the ascent in a hot sunshine had made 
me very thirsty. With pleasure I ate with my hand 
some of the still unmelted snow on the mountain. 

This uneven surface presents many spots where the 
vapours and smoke issue out, sometimes even from the 
centre of rocks of lava ; they rise dense and heavy, and 
appear to be sulphurous and carbonic acids, with water, 
in a state of vapour. Their effects upon the lava were 
to bleach it, making it of a fine white or yellow colour, 
and in many spots they deposit muriate of iron and 
muriate of ammonia. The ground is very wet in many 
places from the melting of the snow and the condensa- 
tion of the vapours that rose from the interior, and the 
guide, from that circumstance, promised me a fine view 
of the crater. After about ten minutes' further progress 


"we came to an elevated mass of lava, and from thence 
saw the crater about sixty yards in advance ; but here 
we stopped awhile to see it at this distance. The scene 
was grand in the extreme, and cannot be conceived but 
from the seeing of it. The cloud of smoke rose very 
rapid and high in the atmosphere, and moved off in a 
side direction, so as to leave us without fear of being 
annoyed by it. The colouring of the place was very 
strange, though brilliant. The smoke at moments took 
various tinges from the sun on the part opposed to its 
rays, and the opposite side of columns possessed all the 
sombre black and waving red hues of that which might 
be supposed to issue from the abyss. The dark burnt 
ground was irregularly arrayed in many colours of the 
greatest beauty, but they struck the eye as being un- 
natural. The yellows were muriate of iron and lava, 
with various tints from its natural black coloiu: to white, 
according to the time or the power with which the 
sulphurous vapours had acted on it. The reds and 
greens were mixtures of the bleached lava with iron. 
No sulphur was present in a concrete form, and no smell 
of sulphur except from the vapours of the volcano. 
The general smell of the place was hke chlorine. 

From the spot that we now occupied I heard the roar 
of the fire, and at moments felt the agitation and shak- 
ings of the mountain ; but the guide, not satisfied with 
this, went forward, and we descended some rocks of 
lava and proceeded onwards towards the very edge of 
the crater, leaping from one point to another, being 
careful not to slip, not only to avoid the general in- 
conveniences of a fall, but the being burnt also, for at 
the bottom of a cavity the heat was in general very 
great. I had nearly, however, been down, for, whilst 


stepping, skipping, &c., the guide suddenly cried out 
to look, and I did so, though falling. I saw a large 
shower of red-hot stones in the air, and felt the strong 
workings of the mountain ; but my care was now to 
get to the crater, and that was soon done. Here the 
scene surpassed everything. Before me was the crater, 
like a deep gulf, appearing bottomless from the smoke 
that rose from below. On the right hand this smoke 
ascended in enormous wreaths, rolHng above us into 
all forms ; on the left hand the crater was clear, except 
where the fire burst out from the side with violence, 
its product rising and increasing the volume of volatile 
" matter already raised in the air. The ground was in 
continual motion, and the explosions were continual, 
but at times more powerful shocks and noises occurred ; 
then might be seen rising high in the air numbers of 
red-hot stones and pieces of lava, which at times came 
so near as to threaten us with a blow. The appearance 
of the lava was at once sufficient to satisfy one of its 
pasty form. It rose in the air in lumps of various size, 
from ^ lb. to 25 lbs. or more. The form was irregular, 
but generally long, like splashes of thick mud ; a piece 
would oftentimes split into two or more pieces in the 
air. They were red-hot, and, when they fell down, 
continued glowing for five, ten, or fifteen minutes. They 
generally fell within the crater, though sometimes a 
piece would go far beyond its edge. It appeared as if 
splashed up by the agitation of a lake of lava beneath ; 
but the smoke hid aU below from sight. The smoke 
generally rose in a regular manner, and, though the 
noises, explosions, and trembling varied much, yet the 
cloud seemed to rise with the same strength and im- 
petuosity. I was there, however, during one explosion 



of very great force, when the ground shook as with a 
strong earthquake, and the shower of lava and of stones 
ascended to a very great height, and at this moment 
the smoke increased much in quantity. The guide now 
said this place was not safe, from its exposed situation 
to the melted lava and to the smoke, and because it 
oftentimes happens that a portion of the edge of the 
crater is shaken down into the gulf below. We there- 
fore retreated a httle, and then sat down, listened, and 

After a while we returned. This was rapid work, 
but required care, from the heat of the lava and the 
chance of a fall of some yards. The descent of the 
cone is made over the softest part, that which is most 
equally spread with ashes and in the finest form. 
Every step is worth twenty of the ascending ones, and 
it took us four minutes and a half to return over a 
space which occupied in ascending thirty-five minutes of 
our time. At the Hermitage I found some acquaint- 
ance, but not Sir Humphry, and I therefore continued 
to descend, and got to Eesina in good time. 

I was very glad of this opportunity of ascending 
Vesuvius ; for I had heard so many and such different 
accounts from persons who have lately been up it, that 
I thought it must be in a very changeable state, or, at 
least, that it had changed much since I saw it last. 
This it certainly has done, and by to-day's walk I have 
gained a much clearer idea of a volcano than I before 

Monday, March 21st. — We left Naples this morning 
at five o'clock. The weather pleasant, but cool. We 
pressed forward the whole of the day, and fully em- 
ployed it in getting to Terracina. In passing Fandi 


we were saluted by the Neapolitan troops, who were 
coming into the town from their recreation by the gate 
we wanted to go out at. Their salutations were stares, 
hurras, hisses, groans, laughing and chattering, and all 
apparently for want of something to do. There were 
a great number of them here, and the town was more 
than full with them, but for what purpose they are 
here is as yet unknown. 

Wednesday, 23rd — ^Rome. The Eomans are now in 
much agitation respecting the motions of Murat, and 
made eager inquiries about his advance, &c., but they 
made no preparations to oppose him. The Pope goes 
to-day from this place, and the Cardinals will all be off 
in two or three days more. No post-horses to be had. 

Thursday, 24:th. — We wanted to go to-day, but find- 
ing that everybody else wanted to go too, and that no 
horses were to be had, we were obliged to delay a 
little our departure. Everything, however, was packed 
up, and every means used to set us and our luggage in 
motion. At last carriage-horses were hired at an 
immense expense to take us to Civitk CasteUana to- 

Wednesday, March SOth. — Mantua is singularly 
twisted by fortifications and earthworks, and labourers 
are now employed by hundreds to twist it stiU more by 
the same kind of arrangements. Indeed, everything 
is prepared, and everybody is preparing, for war. 
Mantua has on this side a very pretty and picturesque 
appearance, but this I fancy it owes in a great mea- 
sure to the magnificent background given to it by the 
Alps. We wished to get through the town as soon as 
possible, but were destined to remain in it some hours. 
We found some trouble in getting into it, and we 


found still more in getting out of it. The passport 
was asked for at the outer gate ; it was taken into the 
bureau, examined, and registered. It was then, at the 
distance of twelve or fourteen yards, asked for at the 
inner gate, examined and registered as before, and then 
sent by a soldier to the police office. In the mean- 
time we were permitted to proceed to the post-house, 
and there remained. After a while the soldier came 
back, and said Sir Humphry must go to the police- 
office to answer some questions. In about forty minutes 
Sir Humphry came back with the permission, but it 
was not good. It had been signed by the police only, 
and not by the commandant. It was to go back again, 
and I went with it. At the police-office I found them 
examining the passport, and I witnessed the several 
tedious operations of examination, registering, signing, 
and sealing. The passport then passed the ordeal of 
their hands, and then we got it re-signed or counter- 
signed by the commandant. All was now valid, and 
we got the horses and considered ourselves in a state 
of motion, but we found it to be intermitting only, and 
not continual. At the gate of exit we were stopped, 
the passport examined, registered, &c., and the same 
done at another bureau about twelve yards in advance. 
During these examinations the traces of a wagon 
laden with hay broke just as it got on the drawbridge, 
and we had to wait until they pleased to mend them. 
At last we saw the outside of the town, having, much 
against our will, remained two hours and a half in it. 



' Bruxelles : April 16, 1815. 

' My very dear Mother, — It is witli no small pleasure 
I write you my last letter from a foreign country, and 
I hope it will be with as much pleasure you will hear 
1 am within three days of England. Nay more, before 
you read this letter I hope to tread on British ground, 
but I will not make too sure, lest I should be disap- 
pointed ; and the sudden change and apparently ter- 
mination of our travels is sufficient to remind me that 
it may change again. But, however, that is not at all 
probable, and I trust will not happen. 

' I am not acquainted with the reason of our sudden 
return ; it is, however, sufficient for me that it has taken 
place. We left Naples very hastily, perhaps because 
of the motion of the Neapolitan troops, and perhaps 
for private reasons. "We came rapidly to Eome, we 
as rapidly left it. We ran up Italy, we crossed the 
Tyrol, we stepped over Germany, we entered Holland, 
and we are now at Brussels, and talk of leaving it to- 
morrow for Ostend ; at Ostend we embark, and at 
Deal we land on a spot of earth which I will never leave 
again. You may be sure we shall not creep from 
Deal to London, and I am sure I shall not creep to 

18 Weymouth Street ; and then but it is of no use. 

I have a thousand times endeavoured to fancy a meeting 
with you and my relations and friends, and I am sure 
I have as often failed : the reahty must be a pleasure 
not to be imagined nor to be described. It is uncertain 
what day we shall get to London, and it is also un- 
certain where we shall put up at. I shall be thankful 
if you will make no inquiries after me anywhere, and 
especially in Portland Place, or of Mr. Brande. I do 
not wish to give occasion for any kind of comments 



whatever on me and mine. You may be sure that 
my first moments will be in your company. If you 
have opportunities, tell some of my dearest friends, but 
do not tell everybody— that is, do not trouble yourself 
to do it. I am of no consequence except to a few, 
and there are but a few that are of consequence to me, 
and there are some whom I should like to be the first 
to tell myself — Mr. Eiebau for one. However, let A. 
know if you can. 

' I come home almost like the prodigal, for I shall 
want everything. 

' I cannot find in my heart to say much here to B. 
and E., because I want to say it myself, and I feel that 
I am too glad to write it. My thoughts wander from 
one to another, my pen runs on by fits and starts, and 
I should put all in confusion. I do not know what to 
say, and yet cannot put an end to my letter. I would 
fain be talking to you, but I must cease. 

'Adieu till I see you, dearest Mother; and believe 
me ever your affectionate and dutiful son, 

' M. Faraday. 

' 'Tis the shortest and (to me) the sweetest letter I 
ever wrote you.' 

The feeling that bursts out in his letter to his friend 
Abbott from Eome, and in this last letter to his mother 
from Brussels, contrasts most remarkably with the 
tone of his journal. Both are strikingly characteristic of 
Faraday — the journal, by the absence of every word of 
gossip, and by the keenness of his remarks on every- 
thing that came before him — the letters, by their kind- 
ness, which seems often too much to find utterance in 




OiV May 7, a fortnight after his return to England, 1815. 
Faraday was engaged at the Eoyal Institution as assis- .s;t."237 
taut in the laboratory and mineralogical collection, 
and superintendent of the apparatus, with a salary of 
thirty shillings a week. Apartments were also granted 
to him ; but a month passed before he was put in posses- 
sion of them. Up to this time the love which Faraday 
had for knowledge, and his earnest search for it, are to 
be seen in every letter he wrote and in everything that 
he did. This is the moving force which led to most of 
his actions, and occasionally it bursts out in words like 
these — ' Trade which I hated, and science which I 
loved;' 'I almost wished that I had been insulated 
and alone, that I might have accepted Sir H. Davy's 
offer without a regret at leaving home.' In another 
letter he wrote, ' The glorious opportunity I enjoy of 
improving in the knowledge of chemistry and the 
sciences with Sir H. Davy : ' and with that innate 
humihty which was increased by his religion, he 
said, ' I have learned just enough to perceive my 
ignorance ; ' ' The httle knowledge I have gained makes 
me wish to know more.' 



This was the state of his mind when he returned to 
the place where he was to be further educated for his 
great scientific work. Faraday had now full knowledge 
of his master's genius and power. He had compared 
him with the French philosophers whilst helping him 
in his experiments on iodine ; and he was just about to 
see him engage in those researches on fire-damp and 
flame, which ended in the glorious invention of the Davy 
lamp, a discovery which gave to Davy a popular reputa- 
tion, even beyond that which he had gained in science 
by the greatest of all his discoveries — ^potassium. 

The care with which Faraday has preserved every 
note-book and manuscript of Davy's at the Eoyal 
Institution, the remarks regarding Davy in his letters 
the earnestness of his praise of Davy's scientific work, 
show that he fully acknowledged all the debt which 
he owed to his master. But, with all his genius, Davy 
was hurt by his own great success. He had very httle 
self-control, and but httle method and order. He gave 
Faraday every opportunity of studying the example 
which was set before him during the journey abroad, 
and during their constant intercourse in the laboratory 
of the Eoyal Institution ; and Faraday has been known 
to say that the greatest of all his great advantages was 
that he had a model to teach him what he should avoid. 

The rapid progress that he made in his self-educa- 
tion during the first five years of his fixed abode at the 
Eoyal Institution is well seen, fii'st, in the lectures which 
he gave ; secondly, in the entries which he made in 
his commonplace-book ; thirdly, in the papers which 
he published ; and, lastly, in the letters which he wrote. 

Under these different heads, as far as possible in his 
own words, year by year the history of his life will 
be told. 


In his works he will show his own growth in science, 
and in his letters he will set forth his own character. 

It 1816, the state and progress of his knowledge is 
seen chiefly in the lectures which he gave at the City- 
Philosophical Society. His first lecture was on January 
17. His subject was the general properties of matter. 
In the course of the year he gave six more lectures : 
these were — 1, On the Attraction of Cohesion; 2, On 
Chemical Affinity ; 3, On Eadiant Matter ; 4, 5, and 6, 
On Oxygen, Chlorine, Iodine, Fluorine, Hydrogen, and 

These were Faraday's earhest lectures. He wrote 
them out with great care ; and it is interesting now to 
see in his own words the views which he then held re- 
garding the unity, the relationships, and the nature of 
matter and force — subjects which continued to occupy 
his thoughts almost to the end of his life. 

In his first lecture, on the General Properties of 
Matter, he says : — 

' With much diffidence I present myself before you 
this evening as a lecturer on the difficult and refined 
science of chemistry — a science whict requires a mind 
more than mediocre to follow its progress ; but I trust 
that my efforts to fulfil my duty as a member of this 
Society will be received favourably, though I may fail 
in them. 

'Chemistry is a knowledge of the powers and pro- 
perties of matter, and of the efiects produced by those 
powers ; but it is evident that we can only become ac- 
quainted with these as we become acquainted with 
matter ; and, vice versd, we can only know matter as 



we know its properties. It would seem right, there- 
fore, that we should speak of them in connection ; but 
our knowledge becomes much more clear, precise, and 
orderly, if we divide it here into two parts — the one of 
the properties of matter, and the other of matter itself, 
or rather of its varieties. 

' But, as I have said before, we can only know the 
properties of matter by investigating matter itself ; and 
we have no other means of distinguishing matter than 
by its different properties. It seems, therefore, difficult 
to separate them even in idea ; and if we separate them, 
the question arises, which should be first described.? 
But a little attention will point out to us that division 
and arrangement which appear most natural, and which 
can be most easily retained in the mind. 

' We are all able in some degree to form ideas of the 
properties of matter abstracted from matter itself, and 
can discuss the phenomena of attraction or repulsion 
without including the idea of any particular substance ; 
but matter cannot be described except by its properties, 
nor distinguished but as these differ from the properties 
of other matter either in kind or degree. It would be 
impossible for me to describe sulphur or charcoal if I 
refused to mention their properties, or to distinguish 
them from each other unless I said in what properties 
they differed. I shall, therefore, first endeavour to 
enumerate and illustrate the properties of matter.' 

In his third lecture, on Chemical Affinity, he said : — 
' Thus far our attention has been given to the phe- 
nomena produced by the efficient exertion of che- 
mical affinity. We have gained a knowledge of the 
varieties of action and effect produced by degrees in 


its power and the interference of cohesion. That this ^816. 
power is an adherent property in bodies, and causes ^t. 24. 
them to approach each other, is evident from every 
phenomenon connected with it that has been made 
known.- But this knowledge is not sufficient to satisfy 
the curiosity of man ; and in his restless desire after 
further information he pants to become acquainted with 
the cause of this power. This thirst for knowledge has 
induced many to torture nature in hopes to discover her 
secrets ; and though their labours have not been repaid 
with anything like the success desired (at least on this 
point), yet they have given much extraordinary and in- 
teresting information ; and it shall now be my object to 
detail to you such part of this new knowledge as will 
throw light on the nature of chemical affinity. 

' In latter times, which are most important as relating 
to this power, the researches of philosophers have been 
directed to the investigation of the influence exerted by 
electricity over chemical affinities, as being the most 
promising source of information. I have in a former 
lecture stated to you the discovery of that influence, and 
described some of its effects ; but it is now my duty to 
point out more clearly the close connection which exists 
between the electric power and that of chemical affinity, 
and to lay before you those propositions relative to the 
subject which present themselves in the labours of 
modern philosophers.' 

In his fourth lecture, upon Eadiant Matter : — 
' Assuming heat and similar subjects to be matter, we 
shall then have a very marked division of all the varieties 
of substance into two classes : one of these will contain 
ponderable and the other imponderable matter. 
VOL. I. 


' The great source of imponderable matter, and that 
which supplies all the varieties, is the sun, whose office 
it appears to be to shed these subtle principles over 
our system. 

• •*••• 

' The metals are among the most opaque bodies we 
are acquainted with, yet when beat into very thin leaves 
they suffer light to pass. Gold, one of the heaviest 
of the metals, when beaten out and laid upon glass, 
forms a screen of much transparency, and anything 
strongly illuminated, as by the sun, may be seen 
through it. It has been said that this is occasioned 
by the existence of small holes in the leaves, which 
permit the light to pass through them, and that it does 
not pass through the body of the metal. If by small 
holes be meant the pores of the metal, the explanation 
will readily be granted : but then the metal must be 
considered to a certain degree transparent, for the trans- 
mission of light through pores is the only way in which 
it can be transmitted at all, and nothing else takes place 
in transparent bodies ; but if it be said that the exis- 
tence of such holes as the light is supposed to pass 
through is accidental, and only happens when the 
leaves are made very thin, then arguments can be 
opposed to such a statement; for supposing it to be 
true, the light which passes should be white, whereas it 
is coloured, and the colour is found to depend on the 
metal being influenced by other substances which it 
may contain. Pure gold appears by transmitted hght 
of a purple colour ; gold with a little silver, bluish ; 
with a little copper, green ; with iron, red ; and these 
changes of colour almost prove that light does not 
pass through such small accidental holes, but actually 


through the pores of the metal, as with other trans- 
parent matter.^ 

' The conclusion that is now generally received ap- 
pears to be that light consists of minute atoms of matter 
of an octahedral form, possessing polarity, and vary- 
ing in size or in velocity. 

' If now we conceive a change as far beyond vaporisa- 
tion as that is above fluidity, and then take into account 
also the proportional increased extent of alteration 
as the changes rise, we shall perhaps, if we can form 
any conception at all, not fall far short of radiant 
matter ; and as in the last conversion many qualities 
were lost, so here also many more would disappear. 

' It was the opinion of Newton, and of many other 
distinguished philosophers, that this conversion was pos- 
sible, and continually going on in the processes of nature, 
and they found that the idea would bear without inj ury 
the application of mathematical reasoning — as regards 
heat, for instance. If assumed, we must also assume 
the simplicity of matter ; for it would follow that all 
the variety of substances with which we are acquainted 
could be converted into one of three kinds of radiant 
matter, which again may differ from each other only 
in the size of their particles or their form. The pro- 
perties of known bodies would then be supposed to 
arise from the varied arrangements of their ultimate 
atoms, and belong to substances only as long as their 
compound nature existed ; and thus variety of matter 

' Forty years after this lecture was given, Faraday published his last 
paper, full of experiments, in the Philosophical Transactions, upon this 

o 2 


and variety of properties would be found co-essential. 
The simplicity of such a system is singularly beautiful, 
the idea grand, and worthy of Newton's approbation. 
It was what the ancients beheved, and it may be what 
a future race will realise.' 

In his fifth lecture, on Oxygen, Chlorine, lodhie, 
Fluorine, he said : — 

' Before leaving this substance, chlorine, I will point 
out its history, as an answer to those who are in the 
habit of saying to every new fact, " What is its use ? " 
Dr. Franklin says to such, "What is the use of an 
infant?" The answer of the esperimentalist would be, 
"Endeavour to make it useful." When Scheele dis- 
covered this substance it appeared to have no use, it was 
in its infantine and useless state ; but having grown up 
to maturity, witness its powers, and see what endeavours 
to make it useful have done. 

■ •**.. 

' The third body we have to consider is called 
iodine, or iode. It was discovered in the year 1812, 
by M. Curtois, a saltpetre manufacturer at Paris. 

' No suspicions were entertained at first of the true 
nature of this body. It gained but little attention, and 
was supposed to be a compound. A short paper was 
read on it to the Institute at Paris ; but until Sir H. 
Davy hinted his suspicions that it was an undecom- 
posed substance, it seemed to be gradually falling into 
neglect. During the winter of 1813, several papers on 
it by Sir H. Davy, Gay-Lussac, and others, appeared ; 
and though in my own mind convinced to Avhom the 
merit of having first ascertained the true nature of this 


substance, its remarkable properties, and its compounds, 
belongs, it is not fit that I should influence you here. 
The public must judge from the different papers and 
their dates, and will if they discriminate correctly, give 
the merit where it is due. 

' It is probable that none of these bodies, oxygen, 
chlorine, iodine, and fluorine, are really simple in their 

' The cursory view which we have taken of them 
and of their history is sufficient to show the disadvan- 
tages attendant on ignorance and on undue faith in 

' It may be observed how great are the alterations 
made in the opinions of men by the extension of 
inquiry ; and this points out the imperfections of those 
originally held. Again, by adherence to a favourite 
theory, many errors have at times been introduced into 
general science which have required much labour for 
their removal. These circumstances are the cause of 
many obstructions in the path of knowledge. Whilst, 
however, we can thus observe those causes which have 
at former periods acted in a manner not agreeable to 
our wishes, let us be careful not to give occasion to 
future generations to return the charge on us. Man 
always forms opinions, and he always believes them cor- 
rect. In pointing out the errors of another he endea- 
vours to substitute for them his own views. At the 
present da)' we have our theories and laws, and we 
believe them to be correct, though they may probably 
fall, as others have done before them. 'Tis true that, 
warned by the example of others, we profess to be 
more reserved in our opinions, and more guarded in 



. ^^^^- . our decisions ; and yet continual experience shows that 
jEt. 24-25. our care appUes rather to former errors than to those 
now hkely to arise. We avoid those faults which we 
perceive, but we still fall into others. To guard against 
these requires a large proportion of mental humility, 
submission, and independence. 

' The philosopher should be a man willing to Hsten to 
every suggestion, but determined to judge for himself. 
He should not be biassed by appearances ; have no 
favourite hypothesis ; be of no school ; and in doctrine 
have no master. He should not be a respecter of 
persons, but of things. Truth should be his primary 
object. If to these qualities be added industry, he 
may indeed hope to walk within the veil of the temple of 

In his sixth lecture, on Hydrogen, he said : — 

' Although we should be able, from a knowledge of 
the importance of water, to form a very exalted idea of 
the value of hydrogen, as one of the elements which con- 
stitute it, yet it is by no means the highest point of view 
in wliich it can be placed before you. The attempt, 
mdeed) to estimate the value of any one element in 
nature would be vain and presumptuous, for it is not 
possible that we can understand every use to which it 
may be and is constantly applied ; yet still I think it 
is proper that we should evince our consciousness, as 
far as it extends, of the benefits we continually enjoy. 
AUow me, therefore, to point out to you the value of 
hydrogen, not only in water, but in all the common 
inflammable substances. Wood, coal, resin, wax, oil, 
and almost the whole of that variety of bodies which 
we use for the production of heat and light, contain 


hydrogen as an essential element ; and these are I8lfi. 
valuable not only as sources of warmth and light, but ^T.24-25. 
for innumerable other uses which they possess in the 
hands of man. Look at them also in the hands of 
nature, see them formed from or forming the vegetable 
world, and then see them converted into other states 
and other compounds, and at last attaining to the im- 
portant end of their creation in the composition of that 
masterpiece — man ! ' 


The entries which he made in his commonplace- 
book this year show what he did and what he read, 
what he thought, and even how he appeared at this 
time to one who at the City Philosophical Society had 
frequent and full occasions to know him well. 

Among many notes, the most remarkable are on the 
production of oxygen ; on mnemonics; on the combustion 
of zinc and of iron in condensed air; on mercury and 
tin ; on crystals in oil of cassia ; extracts from ' Eambler ' 
and ' Spectator ;' notes of a course of lectures on 
geology delivered at the Eoyal Institution by W. T. 
Brande, Esq.,r.E.S. ; tests for arsenic ; analysis of native 
lime from Italy ; comparison of French and English 
measures ; an account of a visit to a silk-ribbon dresser ; 
an account of Zerah Colburn, thirteen years old, the 
American calculating boy;^ gauge for condensing 
apparatus ; eudiometry ; a long historical sketch ; ex- 
periments on the absorption of nitrous acid by oil ; two 
pieces of poetry — one on Love, and as this had some 

' Sir H. Davy wrote to Faraday, ' Mr. Colburn, the father of the 
American boy -who has such extraordinary powers of calculation, will 
explain to you the method his son uses in confidence : I wish to ascertain 
if it can bo practically used.' 


1816. influence on his fature life, it must be preserved ; the 
Mi.2i-25. other, called ' Quarterly Night,' October 2, 3816, was 
written by Mr. Dryden, a member of the City Philoso- 
phical Society. 

What is the pest and plague of human life ? 
And what the curse that often brings a wife ? 

'Tis Love. 

What is the power that ruins man's firmest mind ? 
What that deceives its host, alas ! too kind ? 
What is't that comes in false deceitfiil guise, 
Making dull fools of those that 'fore were wise? 

'Tis Love. 

What is't that oft to an enemy turns a friend ? 
What is't that promising never attains its end ? 
What that the wisest head can never scan, 
Which seems to have come on earth to humble man ? 

'Tis Love. 

What is't directs the madman's hot intent. 
For which a dunce is fully competent ? 
What's that the wise man always strives to shim, 
Though still it ever o'er the world has run ? 

'Tis Love. 

Then show me love : howe'er you find it, 'tis still a curse, — 

A thing v/hich throws good sense behind it ; sometimes much worse. 

'Tis always roving, rambling, seeking t'unsettle minds, 

And makes them careless, idle, weeping, changeful as winds. 

Then come to me, we'll curse the boy the Cyprian goddess brought 

on earth ; 
He's but an idle senseless toy, and has no claim on manly worth. 
The noble heart will ne'er resign Eeason, the light of mental day, 
Or idly let its force decline before the passions' boisterous sway. 
We've honour, friendship, all the powers that still with virtue do 

reside ; 
They've sweetly strewed our lives with flowers, nor do vre wish for 

aught beside. 
Love, then, thou'st nothing here to do : depart, depart to yonder 



There is another entry on this subject in his note- 

"What is Love ? — A nuisance to everybody but the parties concerned, 
A private affair which every one but those con- 
cerned wishes to make public. 

A description of Faraday at this time is thus given 
in the ' Quarterly Night : ' — 

But hark ! A voice arises near the chair ! 

Its liquid sounds glide smoothly through the air ; 

The listening Muse with rapture bends to view 

The place of speaking, and the speaker too. 

Neat was the youth in dress, in person plain ; 

His eye read thus, Philosopher in grain ; 

Of understanding clear, reflection deep ; 

Expert to apprehend, and strong to keep. 

His watchful mind no subject can elude. 

Nor specious arts of sophists ere delude ; 

His powers, unshackled, range from pole to pole ; 

His mind from error free, from guilt his soul. 

Warmth in his heart, good humour in his face, 

A friend to mirth, but foe to vile grimace ; 

A temper candid, manners unassuming. 

Always correct, yet always unpresuming. 

Such was the youth, the chief of all the band ; 

His name well known, Sir Humphry's right hand. 

With manly ease towards the chair he bends. 

With Watts's logic at his finger-ends. 

' I rise (but shall not on the theme enlarge) 

To show my approbation of this charge : 

If proved it be, the censure should be passed. 

Or this offence be neither worst nor last. 

A precedent wiU stand from year to year. 

And His the usual practice we shall hear. 

Extreme severity 'tis right to shun. 

For who could stand were justice only done ? 

And yet experience does most clearly show 

Extreme indulgence oft engenders woe. 

In striving then to hit the golden mean — 

To knowledge, prudence, wisdom, virtue seen 


Let Isaac then be censured, not in spite, 

But merely to evince our love of right. 

Truth, order, justice, cannot be preserved, 

Unless the laws which rule us are observed. 

I for the principle alone contend. 

Would lash the crime, but make the man my friend.' 


His first original work was published this year, in the 
' Quarterly Journal of Science.' It was an analysis of 
native caustic hme. In the volume of his ' Experi- 
mental Eesearches on Chemistry and Physics,' he has 
added a note : — ' I reprint this paper at fidl length ; it 
was the beginning of my communications to the public, 
and in its results very important to me. Sir Humphry 
Davy gave me the analysis to make as a first attempt 
in chemistry, at a time when my fear was greater than 
my confidence, and both far greater than my know- 
ledge ; at a time also when I had no thought of ever 
writing an original paper on science. The addition of 
his own comments, and the pubhcation of the paper, 
encouraged me to go on making, from time to time, 
other slight communications, some of which appear in 
this volume. Their transferrence from the " Quarterly " 
into other journals increased my boldness, and now that 
forty years have elapsed, and I can look back on what 
successive communications have led to, I still hope, 
much as their character has changed, that I have not 
either now or forty years ago been too bold.' 

Another mark of his progress appears in the fact that 
he mentions thus : — ' When Mr. Brande left London 
in August, he gave the " Quarterly Journal " in charge 


to me : it has had very much of my time and care, and 1816. 
writing, through it, has been more abundant with me. ^t.24 -25. 
It has, however, also been the means of giving me 
earlier information on some new objects of science.' 


Lastly, from the letters which he wrote to his friend 
Benjamin Abbott, after he came from abroad, a glimpse 
of his life and character, during this year, can be 


'January 10, 1816. 

'Dear A , Many persons spend years in seeking 

honour, but still being unsuccessful call themselves 
miserable and unfortunate ; but what are these cases to 
mine, who, when honour waits for admission, am obliged 
to refuse her entertainment ? But so the fates, or the 
unlucky stars, or the gods, or something else, have 
decreed, and I am obliged to dissent from your arrange- 
ment for Thursday. It happens that my time for this 
week is completely cut up, and so that I cannot cut 
it over again. On Thursday evening I expect my old 
master, Mr. Eiebau, at the Institution, and I shall be out 
both Friday and Saturday evenings.' 

' Friday evening (I belieye), February 9, 1816. 

' Dear A , Be not oflfended that I turn to write 

you a letter because I feel a disinclination to do any- 
thing else, but rather accept it as a proof that conversa- 



-J^^^ tion with you has more power with me than any other 
-iET.24-25. relaxation from business ; — business I say, and beUeve it 
is the first time for many years that I have appHed it 
to my own occupations. But at present they actually 
deserve the name, and you must not think me in laugh- 
ing mood, but in earnest. It is now 9 o'clock, p.m., and 
I have just left the laboratory and the preparation for 
to-morrow's two lectures. Our double course makes me 
work enough, and to them add the attendance required 
by Sir Humphry in his researches ; and then, if you 
compare my time with what is to be done in it, you 
will excuse the slow progress of our correspondence on 
my side. Understand me : I am not complaining ; the 
more I have to do the more I learn ; but I wish to avoid 
all suspicion on your side that I am lazy — suspicions, 
by the bye, which a moment's reflection convinces me 
can never exist. 

' Eemember me to our friends, and believe me ever 

M. Fabaday.' 


' September 23, 1816. 

'Dear A , . . . Whilst in the City I heard a 

curious charge from Mr. G., made by you against me, 
I suppose in joke ; but given by him with so serious a 
face, that I was tempted to explain, a thing I rarely do 
to those who have no connection (necessarily) with my 
affairs. The charge was, that I deserted my old friends 
for new ones. Supposing that you intended this seriously, 
which I do not think you did, I shall take the oppor- 
tunity to explain to you how my time is generally 


occupied. The duties of my situation (whicli is no 
sinecure) necessarily confine the time which I can dis- 
pose of to the evenings. Of these, Wednesday belongs 
to the Society ; Saturday to Weymouth Street, gene- 
rally ; Monday and Thursday come into a system of 
instruction, and may be considered as school evenings, 
which, however, I at times do, though unwillingly, 
break through ; and Tuesday and Friday I find little 
more than sufficient to do my own business in. So 
that you will perceive I have not much time to spare. 
Business is the first thing, to which I am not only tied 
by necessity, but by honour : pleasure is the last. And 
then, again, there is an intermediate part, verging on 
both, to which I consider it a duty to attend — I mean 
the Society. After my work, I attend to that, then to 
my own affairs, and then to my friends. This long 
explanation, however, looks so serious that I would 
cut it shorter if I had time, for I am confident it 
must be unnecessary ; but being here, as it helps to 
fill up, I will leave it. I shall hope to see you on 
Friday ; if not, you will let me know, and when you 
will come. 

' I am, as always, yours sincerely, 

' M. Faraday. 
' Excuse the haste.' 


'December 31, 1810. 

' Dear A , I have delayed writing for some days 

that I might, when I did do it, produce something of 
importance, in size at least, and I am in hopes from 
your last that you will not object to my intentions and 
reasons : the latter are, that our mutilated correspon- 


1816. dence may be resumed to the advantage of us both. 
Mi:. 25. The observation contained in yours of the 25th, re- 
specting the various causes and influences which have 
retarded our mutual communications, together with my 
own experience, which on this point you are aware has 
been great, make it desirable that our plans should 
be such as to facilitate the object we have in view in 
the writing of letters. That object is, I beheve, the 
communication of information between us, and the 
habit of arranging in a proper and orderly manner 
our ideas on any given or casual subject, so that they 
may be placed with credit and service to ourselves on 

' This object, it strikes me, would in part be attained 
by giving, in addition to the general tone of a liberal 
and friendly letter, something of the essayical to our 
communications. I do not mean that every letter 
should be an essay, but that when a thought, or a 
series of thoughts, on any particular subject, for the 
moment enters the mind, that the liberty be allowed 
of throwing them into form on paper, though perhaps 
unconnected with what has gone before or may succeed 
it. This indeed, I beheve, is the plan we have actually 
followed, but I am not sure that I had so conceived 
the thing before ; at least I had not marked out in my 
own mind that in pursuance of our object I might sit 
down and scribble to you, without preface, whatever 
was uppermost in my mind. However, at present you 
perceive what I am at, and what are my intentions, 
and though, as I before observed, we have both vir- 
tually followed this plan, yet I have at this time given 
it something like form, or sound, or expression, or 
whatever else you please, that I might be more con- 


scious of it, and make use to a greater extent of the 
liberty it allows me. 

' I must confess that I have always found myself un- 
able to arrange a subject as I go on, as I perceive many 
others apparently do. Thus, I could not begin a letter 
to you on the best methods of renovating our corre- 
spondence, and, proceeding regularly with my subject, 
consider each part in order, and finish, by a proper 
conclusion, my paper and matter together. 

' I always find myself obhged, if my argument is of 
the least importance, to draw up a plan of it on paper, 
and fill in the parts by recalling them to mind, either 
by association or otherwise ; and this done, I have a 
series of major and minor heads in order, and from 
these I work out my matter. Now this method, un- 
fortunately, though it will do very well for the mere 
purpose of arrangement and so forth, yet it introduces 
a dryness and stiffness into the style of the piece com- 
posed by it ; for the parts come together like bricks, 
one flat on the other, and though they may fit, yet 
they have the appearance of too much regularity ; and 
it is my wish, if possible, to become acquainted with 
a method by which 1 may write my exercise in a more 
natural and easy progression. I would, if possible, 
imitate a tree in its progression from roots to a trunk, 
to branches, twigs, and leaves, where every alteration 
is , made with so much care and yet effect, that though 
the manner is constantly varied, the effect is precise 
and determined. 

' Now, in this situation I apply to you for assistance. 
I want to know what method, or what particular prac- 
tice or exercise in composition, you would recommend 
to prevent the orderly arrangement of Aj Aj A3 Bi Bj 


Ci C2 C3 C4, &c., or rather, to prevent the orderly ar- 
rangement from appearing too artificial. I am in want 
of all those conjunctions of styles, those corollaries, &c., 
by which parts of a subject are put together with so 
much ease, and which produce so advantageous an 
effect ; and as you have frequently, in your contribu- 
tions to our portfolios, given me cause to admire your 
success and lament my own deficiency upon this point, I 
beg that you will communicate to me your method of 
composing ; or, if it is done spontaneously and without 
an effort on your part, that you will analyse your mental 
proceedings whilst writing a letter, and give me an 
account of that part which you conceive conducive to 
so good an end. With this request I shall refer the 
subject to you, and proceed briefly to notice the con- 
tents of your letter. 

' With respect to my remarks on lectures, I perceive 
that I am but a mere tyro in the art, and therefore 
you must be satisfied with what you have, or expect 
at some future time a recapitulation, or rather revision, 
of them : but your observations will be very accept- 

' M. Faraday.' 

The knowledge that remains of Faraday in 1817, 
like that of the previous year, is derived from four 
sources : his lectures, his commonplace-book, his pub- 
lications, and his letters. 

At the City Philosophical Society he gave a lecture 
on the means of obtaining knowledge, and five chemical 
lectures : on the atmosphere, on sulphur, and phos- 


phorus, on carbon, on combustion and on the metals 

In his commonplace-book there are many subjects 
marked for future work. There are also extracts from 
books, and some geological notes of a visit to Somer- 
setshire and Devonshire, where he went to stay with 
his friend Huxtable, near South Moulton, for a month. 

He had six papers and notices in the 'Quarterly 
Journal of Science.' The most important of these was 
an account of some experiments on the escape of gases 
through capillary tubes. 

His letters to his friend Abbott show that the occu- 
pation of his time obliged him to write more shortly 
and much less frequently, but still it is from these 
letters that the best knowledge of his thoughts and acts 
can at this time be obtained. 

Huxtable kept scarcely any notes of Faraday's visit 
to him. He says, ' In company with Mr. Flaxman, 
surgeon, and my brother Eobert, we visited the copper 
mines in the neighbourhood of South Moulton. Mr. 
Flaxman gave Mr. Faraday a specimen of the gold we 
found at a mine in the neighbourhood. An account of 
this he published in the " Journal of the Eoyal Institu- 
tion." Mr. Faraday experimented with Mr. Flaxman's 
imperfect galvanic apparatus. 

' At the Narracote sheep-shearing, Mr. Faraday took 
part in the conviviality of the evening with much ap- 
parent interest and good-humour. I have had several 
opportunities of observing his social character since.' 

The lecture which he read to the body of members 
at 53 Dorset Street, Salisbury Square, February 19, 
was, ' On some observations on the means of obtaining 
knowledge, and on tlie facilities affoi'ded by the con- 

vob. I. P 



,J^J^ stitution of the City Philosophical Society.' This was 
^T.25-26. printed by Effingham Wilson, 1817. It gives an ac- 
count of the use he made of the Society as a means of 

' I have ventured,' he says, ' to bring this subject 
forward, under the disadvantage of having but a slight 
acquaintance with authors who have considered the 
matter, and under the still greater inconvenience of 
having but slightly considered it myself My store of 
learning respecting knowledge, abstractedly considered, 
has been gathered, some time since, from the writings 
of Lord Bacon, and from a work by Dr. Watts, " On 
the Improvement of the Mind," which I consider so 
good in its kind that no person ought to be without it. 

' And here I must be allowed to say, that it is my firm 
belief, that were all the benefits which may be derived 
from a vigorous exercise and enjoyment of the powers 
and privileges of the City Philosophical Society well 
known and duly appreciated, each member would feel 
eager to share in the general good they present, and 
regret that such estimable advantages had been until 
now suffered to remain unemployed. For myself, I have 
perceived and used them ; and it is but natural that one 
who has gained much by the Society should feel grate- 
ful for it, and endeavour to express it in terms of praise 
and respect. It has increased my store of mental en- 
joyment, and as it has taught me liberality I recom- 
mend it hberaUy to others. Nor can I refrain from 
saying that I know no institution, with means so small 
and professions so humble, calculated to produce so 
much effect or results so highly valuable. 


' I trust I shall be excused for the warmth of my 1817. 
feelings on this occasion. I do not express myself ^t.25-26. 
thus because I imagine you are not conscious of the 
true value of the Society ; but having experienced to a 
great extent its beneficial effects, I am willing to testify 
my consciousness of them. I shall now consider the 
means of obtainino; knowledge ; — 

'■By Conversation. 

' It is with regret I observe that so little are our 
private evenings for conversation appreciated, that not 
one half of our members generally attend. 

' For my own part, so highly do I value the oppor- 
tunities of our conversations, that I would rather be 
absent on any lecture night than on a private even- 

' By Lecturing. 

' As practised at this Society, lecturing is capable of 
improving not only those who are lectured, but also the 
lecturer. He makes it, or he ought to make it, an op- 
portunity for the exertion of his mental powers, that so 
by using he may strengthen them ; and if he is truly 
in earnest, he will do as much good to himself as to his 

' By Reading. 

' With our parsimonious and economical subscrip- 
tions, it can scarcely be imagined that to apparatus, 
lectures, and conversations, a library should be added. 

!• i 



'By Observation. 

' There is one peculiar branch of it for which we 
possess facihties as a body which many of us do not as 
individuals : I allude to the making of experiment. 

' By Study. 

' Our Society is not at all deficient in those means 
which encourage a disposition to study : I refer more 
particularly to the portfolio, which has been established 
for the reception of such papers, analyses, or essays, 
either on lectures, questions, or independent subjects, 
as may be contributed by the members. This portfolio 
supplies the place of a report, and each one who 
comes forward is asked to place in it either his 
question or lecture ; or, if he please, any original paper, 
so that it should really be the archives of the Society. 
It circulates among the members with the books of 
the hbrary. . . I will not detain you longer, gentle- 
men, from the expressions of your opinions on this sub- 
ject, than to point out to you two modes in which you 
may treat it. The question may be formally put. 
Whether the means of acquiring knowledge which I 
have pointed out are sufficient to the extent that I 
have described ? Or, as I should rather wish it, the 
conversation may turn on the means afforded by the 
organisation of the Society, and on such improve- 
ments of those means as may suggest themselves to 
the members as being practicable.' 

In the tenth lecture of his chemical course at the 
Philosophical Society, On Carbon, given July IGth, he 


began to use notes. In his previous lectures he had ^^^^- , 
written out all that he intended to say. A few of the 'Et.25-26. 
notes regarding the Safety Lamp are worth preserving 
on account of their reference to Sir H. Davy. 

' The great desideratum of a lamp to afford light with 
safety : several devised ; not mention them all, but 
merely refer to that which alone has been found 
efficacious, the DAVY : this the result of pure experi- 
mental deduction. It originated in no accident, nor 
was it forwarded by any, but was the consequence of 
a regular scientific investigation. 

' The contest on lamps, disgraceful subject. Pass it 
over, except by noticing that those who have invented 
lamps are the most clamorous against the Davy. 

' Eulogium. —An instance for Bacon's spirit to behold. 
Every philosopher must view it as a mark of subjection 
set by science in the strongest holds of nature.' 


In his commonplace-book the following entries show 
his thoughts at this time. Some of his questions he 
afterwards marked as answered : — 

' On Mr. Hume's tests for arsenic : changes produced 
in the colour of bodies by heat alone. 

' July. — Geological notes : South Moulton slate ; 
Tiverton ; Hulverston ; leave Devonshire, Taunton, 
Somerton, Castle Gary. 

' Chemical Queries. 

' The action of oxide, chloride, fluoride, and iodide of 
silver on ammonia, and the nature of the compound 
formed ? 


1817. 'The substance formed by fused muriate of lime and 
,s;t.25-26. ammoniacal gas ; its nature ? 

' Sulphuret of phosphorus ; its true proportions and 
properties ? Chromic Compounds, particularly those 
with base of chrome ; also chromate of chrome, and 
the analysis? 

'Exciting effects of different vapours and gaseous 
mixtures ? 

' Silvering of silk and other animal substances by 
ammomiret of silver ? Phosphuret of carbon, its nature 
the green powder ? Black dye for silk. Combination 
of ammonia with chlorides. Arsenic acid as a test to 
discriminate between barytes and strontia, and also as 
a test for zinc. 

' Muriate of silver and ammonia. Melting of horn. 
Tellurium on sulphur. Chlorine and carbon, made out 
autumn of 1820. 

' Mutual action of muriate and nitrate of ammonia. 

' Electricity. Magnetism. A pyrometer. Tests for 
barytes, strontia, and lime ; made out. 

' What is the acid which is generated in stale infu- 
sion of red cabbage ? Query, the nature of the change 
of colour induced by sub-borate of soda in solution on 
cabbage infusion ? It does not render it green, though 
strongly alkaline. 

'Passages out of "Shakespeare," "Lalla Eookh," 
" Johnson," " Morning Chronicle ;" " Chemistry a Cor- 
rective of Pride," Klaproth's " Analyses of the Blood of 
a German Noble and his Servant, identical." 

'Reference to "Eambler," on uncertainty of life; 
secresy ; fancied virtue ; prescience ; pertinacity of 
opinion ; forgiveness of injuries ; friendship ; moral 


virtue ; good-nature ; peevishness ; on sanguinary laws ; 1817. 
on literary courage ; impropriety of haste in life.' ^T.25-26. 


The papers which he published in the second and 
third volumes of the ' Quarterly Journal of Science ' 
show the researches on which he was at this time en- 
gaged : 1. Some account of the alstenia teiformis, or 
tea of Bogota. 2. Eeport of some experiments made 
with compressed oxygen and hydrogen, in the laboratory 
of the Eoyal Institution. 3. Notice of some experi- 
ments on flame made by Sir H. Davy. 4. On the 
wire-gauze safety lamps. 5. Some experiments and 
observations on a new acid substance formed from 
ether. 6. An account of some experiments on the 
escape of gases through capillary tubes. 


Among the letters which he wrote this year, that to 
his friend Abbott, upon the death of his mother, shows 
the kindness of his nature. In other letters, his occu- 
pations and general advance in science are well seen. 


' Royal Institution : January 20, 1817. 

' Dear A , The irresistible propensity in the 

human breast to draw conclusions, before every cir- 
cumstance has been examined, or even before pos- 
session has been obtained of the necessary data, is so 
general, that it passes unnoticed, although constantly 



active in ourselves, until some very flagrant instance in 
• others draws the attention to the results of such irre- 
gular and improper proceedings, and points out the 
folly of immature judgments. Now, though it happens 
that these flagrant instances occur frequently, and are 
continually reminding us of our delinquency, yet, some- 
how or other, the fault still retains its ground, and 
even appears at times to increase in strength. 

' 'T would be a source of much useful consideration 
to endeavour to point out those causes which support 
and strengthen this ill habit of the mind, and the 
comparative strength of them in persons difiering in 
intellectual powers and tempers. It is not, however, 
my intention at this time to take up this subject, 
though I am conscious it would* be of much service to 
me, by giving me a more direct and positive know- 
ledge of this eSect ; but I have been led thus far into 
the subject by hearing from Farley, that Mr. Muiray 
had informed him Sir H. Davy had stolen some ex- 
periments from the French chemists, and adopted them 
as his own. 

' (I received yours of the 17 th at the above,* but, 
being determined to finish my sentence, proceeded. To 
continue) — 

' Murray has told Farley that Sir Humphry keeps a 
platinum wire red-hot by holding it over ether, and he 
says the effect is produced by the sulphur of the ether 
combining with the platinum, and that the experiment 
is the same with that of the French chemists, where 
they combine sulphur and copper-leaf directly. Now, 
lest you should be troubled by the queer explanation 
of an impossible effect, I shall (being now permitted) 
lay this (a) new discovery before you. 


' Sir Humphry has lately been engaged in an inves- 18 17. 
tigation on the nature of flame . . . jet.25 26* 

making experiments with platinum in mixed oxygen 
and hydrogen, in coal-gas, in ether vapour, and hot 

' These experiments succeed with all the combustible 
gases and vapours, even with that of warm alcohol, 
but the only metals that are efficacious are platinum 
and palladium ; the others possess too much radiating 
and conducting power. I need not point out to you 
the inapplicability of Murray's explanations. They 
will strike you at once, and perhaps to-morrow evening, 
should he accost you, you will be able to inform him 
on this point as well as on many others. 

' What with Sir Humphry, Mr. Brande, our two-fold 
series of lectures, original investigations, the Society 
and its committee, my time is just now so closely cut 
up, that Sunday will hardly suffice for my mother, 
brother, and sister ; and as your hospitahty constantly 
presses me to dinner, which when accepted as con- 
stantly makes me too late, I hardly know what to do. 
I have determined, as far as I can, to see you next 
Sunday, but write me for fear of a failure. 

'I am, dear B., yours ever, 

'M. Faraday. 

' I never can get through a letter with any regularity, 
and so you must excuse everything.' 



' Eoyal Institution : June 9, 1817. 

'My dear B , When are you going, or rather 

coming, to ramble my way ? Can it be on next Friday 
evening, for on that evening I shall have the privilege 
of doing my work in my own room, and can of course 
talk to a friend ? I now begin to get sight of a period 
to this busy time, and hope by the beginning of next 
month to have cleared away the mass of clearings, and 
preparations, and arrangements, &c., that now impede 
my way. Our lectures are nearly over. Evening 
meetings will soon cease for the season, and then I 
really mean to relax. 

' Come, if you can, on Friday, till when good-bye. 
' Yours, 

' M. Faraday.' 


' Barnstaple : June 27, 1817. 

' Dear Mother, — I seize a spare moment to write you 
from this place, where we arrived a few hours since, 
having had a pleasant walk and ride from South 

' I am sure that tlie interest you feel in me will 
make you desirous of knowing how my health stands, 
and I have much pleasure in telling you that in that 
respect I am improved in every way. My strength is 
greatly increased, all my scars have disappeared ; I am 
growing quite merry, and am in every way far superior 
to what I was. 

' I trust that you also are well, with M., and all the 
rest of our friends ; and further, I hope I shall find the 
affairs of the house well and comfortably arranged. 


'I have seen a great deal of country life since I left 1817. 
town, and am highly pleased with it, though I should .St.25-26. 
by no means be contented to live away from town. I 
have been at sheep-shearing, merry-making, junketings, 
&c., and was never more merry; and I must say of the 
country people (of Devonshire, at least) that they are 
the most hospitable I could imagine. I have seen all 
your processes of thrashing, winnowing, cheese and 
butter making, and think I could even now give you 
some instructions ; but all I have to say to you on 
these subjects shall be said verbally. 

' We are just now moving a little about the country, 
and I find myself much interested by what I meet with. 
It would not, however, afford you the same pleasure, 
for to talk of wavellite, hydrargellite, and such hard 
things, would be out of the question when the question 
was to you. 

' I am, dear Mother, your affectionate son, 

' M. Faraday.' 


' Koyal Institution : Friday morning-, 
half-past seven, July 25, 1817. 

' Dear A- , I did not get your kind note until last 

night, and since then have been endeavouring to extri- 
cate myself from a meeting of some of our people, 
respecting a singing school attached to our meeting- 
house, in hopes that I could have said to you, " I will 
come." It happens, however, unfortunately, that I 
have been one of the most earnest in bringing the con- 
sultants together, and that I shall be obliged to be with 
them, plodding over the means of improving our own 



^ ^^p-_. singing, in place of attending to and enjoying that of 
.jEt.25-26. others, on this evening. 

' It avails one nothing to express my regrets ; there- 
fore I shall restrain my pen, except in saying I am, as 
always, yours sincerely, 

' M. Faraday.' 


' Eoyal Institution : November 25, 1817. 

' Dear A , I can scarcely imagine the opinion 

you will form of me in seeing me thus changeable ; 
but this, however, I think I may safely presume, that 
you will not charge me with ceremony. I do not 
know what the fates intend by interfering with our 
arrangements, but I know to my cost how they do, 
and I have now to let you know. This is to inform 
you that, in consequence of an arrangement I have 
made with a gentleman recommended to me by Sir 
H. Davy, I am engaged to give him lessons in mine- 
ralogy and chemistry thrice a week in the evening, for 
a few months. In order to meet the engagement, I 
am obliged to neglect my Monday evening school 
entirely, and to give up with that my Tuesday and 
Thursday evenings to teaching. Our lessons do not 
commence till eight o'clock, and, as my gentleman is 
in the immediate neighbourhood, I am at liberty till 
that hour. I hope, therefore, that I shall see you 
early on Thursday, but I regret that I must also part 
with you early. We will look over the letters, &c., as 

you desire. 

' Yours sincerely, 

' M. Faraday.' 

Faraday's progress in knowledge in 1818 can still be 


well marked, (1) by his lectures ; (2) his note-book ; 
(3) his publications ; and (4) his letters. 

Continuing his course of chemical lectures, he gave 
five this year: these were on gold, silver, mercury, &c. ; 
on copper and iron ; on tin, lead, zinc ; on antimony, 
arsenic ; on alkalies and earths. 

He also gave another lecture, entitled ' Observations 
on the Inertia of the Mind.' This lecture was written 
out at full length : some passages, which show Faraday's 
own mind at this period, are worth preserving. 

His note-book contains a carefully reported course 
of lectures on oratory, by Mr. B. H. Smart, who still 
can tell of the strong desire of his pupil to improve 
himself, although fifty years have passed since Faraday, 
with little time and less money, thought it well to do 
all that could be done for his own education even in 
his manner of lecturing. 

He had eleven papers in the fourth and fifth volumes 
of the 'Quarterly Journal of Science.' The most impor- 
tant was on sounds produced by flames in tubes. 

As Faraday's scientific work increased, his letters to 
his friend Abbott became fewer and shorter. This 
year a very short one almost ends the correspondence. 
As long as Abbott stayed in London, the friends met 
from time to time ; and in after years, when he chanced 
to be in town, his greatest pleasure was to witness the 
success of Faraday in the theatre of the Eoyal Institu- 

The loss of the reflection of Faraday's mind in these 
letters is partly balanced by another image of himself, 
which becomes visible in a correspondence which he 
began this year with Professor G. de la Eive. 

When Faraday was at Geneva with Davy, Professor 



, ^^^^• , . de la Eive, undazzled by the brilliancy of Davy's repu-- 
^T. 26-27. tation, was able to see the true worth of his assistant. 
This led him to place Faraday, in one respect, on an 
equality with Davy. Whilst they were staying in his 
house, he wished them to dine together at his table. 
Davy, it is said, declined, because Faraday acted in 
some things as his servant. De la Eive expressed his 
feelings strongly, and ordered dinner in a separate room 
for Faraday. 

Of that Geneva visit Faraday says, in 1858, to Mr. 
A. de la Rive, ' I have some such thoughts (of gratitude) 
even as regards your own father, who was, I may say, 
the first who personally at Geneva, and afterwards 
by correspondence, encouraged and by that sustained 

It will be seen that this correspondence, which began 
with the father, was continued with the son, and it lasted 
altogether nearly fifty years ; and there was no one to 
whom Faraday wrote an account of his work and Of 
his thoughts with so much pleasure and so much sym- 
pathy as to his friend Professor A. de la Eive. 

In 1818 his lectures still give the best insight into 
his mind. 

At the end of his thirteenth lecture, on gold, silver, 
mercury, platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium, os- 
mium, he says : — 

' As in their physical properties so in their chemical 
properties. Their affinities being weaker, (the noble 
metals) do not present that variety of combinations, 
belonging to the more common metals, which renders 


them so extensively useful in the arts ; nor are they, 
in consequence, so necessary and important in the 
operations of nature. They do not assist in her hands 
in breaking down rocks and strata into soil, nor do they 
help man to make that soil productive or to collect for 
him its products. 

' The wise man, however, will avoid partial views of 
things. He will not, with the miser, look to gold and 
silver as the only blessings of life ; nor will he, with 
the cynic, snarl at mankind for preferring them to 
copper and iron. He will contemplate society as the 
proper state of man, and its artificial but necessary in- 
stitutions and principles will appear to him the correct 
and advantageous result of natural causes. That which 
is convenient is that which is useful, and that which is 
useful is that which is valuable. It is in the relative 
position of things one to the other that they are to be 
considered and estimated ; and whilst a man makes use 
of them no otherwise than wisely to supply his wants 
and virtuous pleasm-es, the avaricious trader has no 
reason to call him a fool of nature, nor the moral 
philosopher to name him the victim of society.' 

His fourteenth and fifteenth lectures were on copper, 
iron, tin, lead, and zinc. 

At the end of the sixteenth lecture, on antimony, 
arsenic, cobalt, manganese, nickel, bismuth, tungsten, 
molybdenum, uranium, cerium, tellurium, titanium, co- 
lumbium, he says : — 

' I have now, in the progress of the three last lectures, 
brought before you by far tlie most important of the 
metaUic bodies. There yet remain a few, the result 
of late, even of contemporaneous research, which will 
form the subject of the next and the concluding lecture 


of this course. They are the bases of the alkalies and 
alkaline earths. It is interesting to observe the progress 
of this branch of chemistry, its relations to the ages 
through which it has passed, and the continual refine- 
ment of the means which have urged it in its career. 

' The ancients knew but of seven reduced metals, but 
they are those which, amongst the extensive range we 
now possess, are the most important; and in gold, silver, 
mercury, copper, iron, tin, and lead they found abun- 
dant resources for weapons of war and for implements 
of art, for economical applications and for ornamental 

' The metals in use in old times were obtained almost 
by accident — either pure from the hands of nature or 
by the rudest and simplest workings. But, excited by 
the result of their labours, and by a rude perception 
of the important ends to be obtained, men would, in 
the course of years, not only have their curiosity, but 
their interest engaged in the pursuit ; and, improved 
by the experience of past ages, we find the alchemists 
and their followers, in spite of the self-created ob- 
scurity which surrounded them, stiU frequently suc- 
cessful in withdrawing from the concealed stores of 
nature new metallic wonders, and giving to mankind 
at one time amusing, at another useful information. 

' As the views of men became clearer, as their grow- 
ing means continually improved by practice in their 
Jiands, new individuals were added to the metallic 
species, and each addition drew forth applause for the 
genius of the discoverer, and for his contribution to 
geuei'al chemical science. Stimulated by the due and 
awarded commendation given to prior merit, aU ex- 
erted themselves ; and the result at this day is, that In 


place of the seven metals known to the ancients, at 
least forty have been distinguished from each other 
and from other bodies, and have had their properties 

' At present we begin to feel impatient, and to wish 
for a new state of chemical elements. For a time the 
desire was to add to the metals, now we wish to 
diminish their number. They increase upon us con- 
tinually, and threaten to enclose within their ranks the 
bounds of our fair fields of chemical science. The rocks 
of the mountain and the soil of the plain, the sands 
of the sea and the salts that are in it, have given way 
to the powers we have been able to apply to them, but 
only to be replaced by metals. Even the gas of our 
atmosphere puts on at times a metallic appearance 
before us, and seems to indicate a similar base within. 
But a few combustibles and a few supporters of com- 
bustion remain to us of a different nature, and some 
(men of celebrity too) have found metals even among 

' To decompose the metals, then, to reform them, to 
change them from one to another, and to realise the 
once absurd notion of transmutation, are the problems 
now given to the chemist for solution. Let none start 
at the difficult task, and think the means far beyond 
him ; everything may be gained by energy and perse- 
verance. Let us but look to the means which have 
given us these bodies, and to their gradual development, 
and we shall then gain confidence to hope for new and 
effective powers for their removal from the elementary 
ranks. Observe the first rudiments of metallurgical 
knowledge in the mere mechanical separation of native 
gold and silver from the encumbering substances ; mark 

VOL. I. Q 



the important step made in the reduction of copper, of 
iron, and of tin from their ores — rude, indeed, in the 
hands of the ancients, but refinement itself compared 
with their prior knowledge ; consider the improve- 
ment when, by a variety of manipulations, the early 
chemist of the last century separated a small quantity 
of a metallic substance from five or six other bodies, 
where it existed in strong combination, and then pass 
to the perfection of these means as exhibited in the 
admirable researches of Tennant and WoUaston ; lastly, 
glance but at the new, the extraordinary powers which 
the chemist of our own nation put in action so suc- 
cessfully for the reduction of the alkalies and earths, 
and you will then no longer doubt that powers stiU 
progressive and advanced may exist and put at some 
favourable moment the bases of the metals in our 

At the conclusion of his course, at the end of the 
seventeenth lecture, on alkalies and earths, he says : — 

' The substances that have now been described com- 
plete the series of metalhc bodies which I enumerated 
to you among the present elements of chemical science. 
With them we conclude our consideration of simple 
bodies, and at this point too it is my intention to close 
the present series of lectures. 

' During the seventeen lectures which have formed 
this course, I have constantly endeavoured rather to 
enlarge upon the powers and properties of the simple 
substances, and upon a few of their more proximate 
combinations, than to describe to you their ultimate 
compounds, and their applications and subserviency to 
the purposes of man. I have consequently drawn my 


matter from more hidden and obscure sources, of the 
character of which it has partaken, and have, to a 
certain degree, neglected to use that influence over your 
attention whicli would have been in my power if I had 
reverted to effects frequently in common life before 
you, and to bodies the uses of which are daily in your 

' It certainly is not necessary that I should give 
reasons for the adoption of a particular plan, though 
it may appear to be imperfect and badly designed ; but 
courtesy claims some attention even in science ; and, 
influenced by this, and in justification of myself (for 
whatever independence we may assume, no one is in- 
clined to permit a censure, however unjust or however 
slight, to rest upon him which he can remove), I shall 
give reasons. 

' On considering at the commencement of the course 
what ought to be the nature of these lectures, they ap- 
peared to me to admit with propriety of two distinct 
characters: they might be illustrative of the various 
processes and applications in the arts which are of a 
chemical nature ; or they might be elementary in their 
nature, and explanatory of the secret laws and forces 
on which the science, with all its uses, is founded. 

' These two modes in which chemistry may be said 
to exist, you will observe, form what may be called the 
extremes of our knowledge on the subject ; the first, 
or applicative chemistry, is identical with the experi- 
mental knowledge and practice of the artisan and 
manufacturer, and is also that from which we gain our 
first perceptions and ideas of this kind ; the second, 
or elementary chemistry, is the result of our researches 
in the science ; and though, being the result of long and 

228 ' LiiJ'E OF FAKADAV. 

laborious trains of inductive reasoning and experimen- 
tal investigation, it is the last production of the mind, 
yet it is also the basis upon which nature and art have 
raised practical science. 

' To have made these lectures, therefore, illustrative 
of the arts and manufactures, would have been to re- 
peat what the man of observation had already noticed, 
i.e. the results of general experience : and as it cannot 
but be supposed that a knot of men drawn together 
for mutual improvement must consist of men of obser- 
vation, it would have been to repeat at least much of 
what must be known to the members of the Society. 
On the contrarjr, to treat of the first laws and principles 
of the science would be to explain the causes of the 
effects observed by those attentive bystanders on nature, 
and to point out to them by what powers and in what 
manner those effects were produced. 

' It is possible, and likely, that to suppose men not 
observant would be to incur their distaste and enmity, 
but to -suppose them ignorant of elementary chemistry 
(and by lecturing I have supposed, in form at least, 
ignorance) could be no cause of offence. The acute 
man may observe very accurately, but it does not follow 
that he should also reason perfectly or extensively. 
To tell a person that a stone falls to the ground would 
be to insult him, but it would not at all compromise 
his character for sagacity to be informed of the laws 
by which the stone descends, or the power which in- 
fluences it. And though perhaps this illustration does 
not apply very strongly to the case of ajjpUcative and 
elementary chemical science, it is still satisfactory, by 
assuring me that I have not given offence by any ima- 
ginary depreciation of the knowledge of others. But, 


further, I know of no illustration of the arts and manu- 
factures of the civilised world, wliich would have been 
worth my offering, or your acceptance, not founded on 
first principles. I have endeavoured to give those first 
principles, in an account of the inherent powers of 
matter, of the forms in which matter exists, and of 
simple elementary substances. It is probable that at a 
future time I may make use of this groundwork in 
illustrating the chemical arts to you ; in the meantime 
I shall rest confident that, should I find it convenient, 
the sufferance and kindness you have extended to me 
will still attend my efforts. 

' Before I leave you, I may observe that, during the 
last year or two of the Society's proceedings, I have 
been intruded on your attention to an extraordinary 
degree : this has been occasioned partly by my eager- 
ness to use the opportunities this Society affords for 
improvement ; partly by the necessity we are under, 
from the constitution of our laws, to supply every re- 
quired effort of whatever nature from among ourselves ; 
but much more by your continued indulgence. 

' At present I shall retire awhile from the public 
duties of the Society, and that with the greater readi- 
ness, as I have but little doubt that the evenings devoted 
to lectures will be filled in a manner more worthy of 
your attention. I retire gratified by the considerations 
that every lecture has tended to draw closer the ties of 
friendship and good feeling between the members of 
the Society and myself ; that each one of them has 
shown the advantages and uses of the Society ; and still 
more, by the consciousness that I have endeavoured to 
do, and the belief that I have done, iny duty to the 
Society, to myself, and to you.' 



In his ' Observations on the Inertia of the Mind,' 
read at the City Philosophical Society July 1, 1818, he 
said : ' It is now about eighteen months ago that I read 
in this room a few observations on the means of ob- 
taining knowledge, and on those which particularly 
interested us as being afforded by the principles and 
constitution of this Society. My object at that time 
was to describe distinctly some of the common and 
accessible sources of information, with the means best 
adapted to gain for each of us a participation in the 
benefits and the honours presented by knowledge to 
mankind. In continuance of that subject, it is my in- 
tention to-night to attempt an exposition of certain 
influences which retard, if they do not prevent, the 
application of those means, and which oppose the 
appropriation to ourselves of that to which we have 
an inalienable right. 

' Man is an improving animal. 

' Unlike the animated world around him, which re- 
mains in the same constant state, he is continually 
varying ; and it is one of the noblest prerogatives of 
his nature, that in the highest of earthly distinctions 
he has the power of raising and exalting himself con- 
tinually. The transitory state of man has been held up 
to him as a memento of his weakness : to man de- 
graded it may be so with justice ; to man as he ought 
to be it is no reproach ; and in knowledge, that man 
only is to be contemned and despised who is not in a 
state of transition. 

' We are by our nature progressive. 
- ' We are pkced by our Creator in a certain state 
of things, resulting from the pre-existence of society. 


combined with the laws of nature. Here we commence 
our existence, our earthly career. The extent before 
us is long, and he who reaches furthest in his time has 
best done his duty, and has most honour. The goal 
before us is perfection : always within sight, but too 
far distant to be reached. Like a point in the utmost 
verge of perspective, it seems to recede before us, and 
we find as we advance that the distance far surpasses 
our conception of it. Still, however, we are not de- 
ceived ; each step we move repays abundantly the 
exertion made, and the more eager our race the more 
novelties and pleasure we obtain. 

' Some there are who, on this plain of human life, 
content themselves with that which their predecessors 
put into then- possession, and they remain idle and in- 
active on the spot where nature has dropped them ; 
others exist who can well enjoy the advantages in ad- 
vance, but are too idle to exert themselves for their 
possession — and these are well punished for the envy 
which their very sensibility and sentient powers engen- 
dered within them at sight of the success of others ; a 
third set are able and willing to advance in knowledge, 
but they must be led ; and but few attain to the distin- 
guished honour of being first on the plain, and of 
taking the lead of their generation, of the age, and of 
the world. 

' It can scarcely be possible that my opinion should 
be mistaken in what I have said ; but, lest anyone mis- 
conceives me, I shall take the liberty of discriminating 
some few points before I proceed further in asserting 
the improvability of man. 

' First, then, all theological considerations are banished 
from the Society, and of course from my remarks : and 



whatever I may say has no reference to a future state, 
or to the means which are to be adopted in this Avorld 
in anticipation of it. Next, I have no intention of sub- 
stituting anything for rehgion, but I wish to take that 
part of human nature which is independent of it. Mo- 
rahty, philosophy, commerce, the various institutions 
and habits of society, are independent of rehgion, and 
may exist either with or without it. They are always 
the same, and can dwell ahke in the breasts of those 
who from opinion are entirely opposed in the set of 
principles they include in the term religion, or in those 
who have none. 

' To discriminate more closely, if possible, I will ob- 
serve that we have no right to judge religious opinions, 
but the human nature of this evening is that part of 
man which we have a right to judge ; and I think it 
will be found, on examination, that this humanity — as 
it may perhaps be called — will accord with what I 
have before described as being in our own hands so 
improvable and perfectable. 

' Lastly, by advancement on the plain of life, I mean 
advancement in those things which distinguish man 
from beasts — sentient advancement. It is not he who 
has soared above his feUow-creatures in power, it is 
not he who can command most readily the pampering 
couch or the costly luxury ; but it is he who has done 
most good to his fellows, he who has directed them in 
the doubtful moment, strengthened them in the weak 
moment, aided them in the moment of necessity, and 
enlightened them in their ignorance, that leads the 
ranks of mankind. 

' Such then is our state, and such our duty. We are 
placed in a certain point in the immensity of time, with 


the long, the interminable chains of moral good and of 1818. 
human knowledge lying about our path. We are able ^t. 26. 
to place them straight before us, to take them as our 
guides, and even to develope them to others far beyond 
the spot where we found them ; and it is our duty to 
do so. Some there are perverse enough to entangle 
them even wilfully, to delight in destroying the ar- 
rangements which nature points out, and to retard 
their very neighbours in their efforts ; but by far the 
greater part are content to let things remain as they 
are. They make no efforts themselves, but, on the 
contrary, hang as weights upon the exertions made by 
others who labour for the public good. Now, it is 
with the spirit which animates, or rather benumbs, 
these that I would have to do. I trust there are not 
many who retrograde, and for the sake of human 
nature I will not believe that the observations which 
apply to them should be general. 

' There is a power in natural philosophy, of an in- 
fluence universal, and yet withal so obscure, in its 
nature so unobtrusive, that for many ages no idea of 
it existed. It is called inertia. It tends to retain 
everybody in its present state, and seems like the spirit 
of constancy impressed upon matter. Wliatever is in 
motion is by it retained in motion, and whatever is at 
rest remains at rest under its sway. It opposes every 
new influence, strengthens every old one. Is there 
nothing in the human mind which seems analogous to 
this power ? Is there no spiritual effect comparable to 
this corporeal one. P What are habits ? old prejudices ? 
They seem something like a retention in a certain state 
due to somewhat more than the active impulses of the 
moment. As far as regards them, the mind seems 



inclined to remain in the state in which it is, and the 
words which enunciate part of our natural law will 
describe exactly the effect. The agreement is strange, 
but it nevertheless is evident and exact thus far ; and 
it is possible we shall find it to exist even in its more 
active states. We have only to ascertain whether the 
mind which has once received an impulse, which has 
become active and been made progressive, continues in 
that state, and we can decide at once on the analogy. 
I do not know whether you will require of me to prove 
that such is the case before you will admit it. The 
impression on my own mind is that it is eminently so ; 
and I doubt not but that your own observation will 
confirm my conclusions. The man who has once turned 
his mind to an art goes on more and more improving 
in it ; the man who once begins to observe rapidly im- 
proves in the faculty. And to illustrate at once the 
force of mental inertia to retain the mind either at rest 
or in motion, how difiicult our endeavours to set about 
a new affair, how facile our progress when once en- 
gaged : every little delay illustrates more or less the 
inertia of the passive mind ; every new observation, 
every fresh discovery, that of the active mind. 

' Perhaps in playfulness we may endeavour to trace 
the analogy still further. Inertia is an essential pro- 
perty of matter ; is it a never-failing attendant on the 
mind ? I hope it is ; for as it seems to be in full force 
whenever the mind is passive, I trust it is also in power 
when she is actively engaged. Was the idle mind ever 
yet easy to be placed in activity ? Was the dolt ever 
willing to resign inanity for perception ? Or are they 
not always found contented to remain as if they were 
satisfied with their situation ? They are hke the shep- 


herd Magnus : although on a barren rock, their efforts 
to remove are irksome and unpleasant ; and they seem 
chained to the spot by a power over which they have 
no control, of which they have no perception. Again : 
in activity, what intellectual being would resign his 
employment? Who would be content to forego the 
pleasures hourly crowding upon him ? Each new 
thought, perception, or judgment is a sufficient reward 
in itself for his past labours, and all the future is pure 
enjoyment. There is a labour in thought, but none 
who have once engaged in it would wiUingly resign it. 
Intermissions I speak not of : 'tis the general habit and 
tenor of the mind that concerns us, and that which has 
once been made to taste the pleasures of its own 
voluntary exertions will not by a sHght cause be made 
to forego them. 

' There is still another point of analogy between the 
inertia of matter and that of the mind, and though 
not essential in either case, yet the circumstances exist 
in both. I refer to what may be called disturbing 
forces. If the inertia of matter were to be exerted alone, 
it would tend, according to the original state of rest or of 
motion, to preserve the universe eternally the same, or 
to make it ever changing. At present it is doubtful 
whether both these effects do not take place, but they 
certainly do not happen in the same manner. The 
centripetal force, the centrifugal force, the force result- 
ing from chemical action, and that which originates 
muscular exertion, are at all times active in changing 
and varying the states induced by inertia, sometimes 
aiding, sometimes counteracting its effect. These are 
represented among intellectual beings by the sensations, 
perceptions, passions, and other mental influences which 


interfere (frequently so much to our inconvenience) 
with the dictates of our reason. The philosopher who 
has perceived and enjoyed the advantages resulting 
from the actual performance of his own experiments 
and the use of his own senses, has all his industry (I 
would say inertia) destroyed by the lassitude of a hot 
day, and gravitates into inactivity. Another has his 
reasoning crossed by his inclination ; some thoughts 
are driven one way, some another, and his mind be- 
comes a mere chaos. Others there are, again, whose 
inertia is assisted by the repeated action of other causes, 
and they go on with accelerated energy. So vanity, 
ambition, pride, interest, and a thousand other in- 
fluences, tend to make men redouble their efforts, and 
the effect is such that what appeared at first an im- 
passable barrier easily gives way before the increasing 
power opposed to it. 

' Inertia, as it regards matter, is a term sufficiently 
well understood both in a state of rest and of motion. 
As it is not my intention to attempt a description of 
functions of the mind according to strict mathematical 
terms, I shall resign the exclusive use of the word at 
present, and adopt two others, which, according to the 
sense they have acquired from usage, will, I beheve, 
supply its place with accuracy. Apathy will represent 
the inertia of a passive mind ; industry that of an active 

'It is curious to consider how we qualify ideas es- 
sentially the same, according to the words made use of 
to represent them. I might talk of mental inertia for a 
long time without attaching either blame or praise to 
it — without the chance even of doing so ; but mention 
apathy and industry, and the mind simultaneously cen- 


sures the one and commends the other. Yet the things 
are the same : both idleness and industry are habits, 
and habits result from inertia. 

' Let us first consider the inertia of the sluggish mind. 
This is apathy — idleness. Perhaps there never yet was 
a person who could be offered as a complete instance 
of this state — one who made not the slightest advance- 
ment in the paths of knowledge. It is not possible 
there should be such, where perception and reason 
exist though but in the slightest degree. Society must 
of necessity entrain such a being, even though against 
his will ; and he will be moved like the rocky fragment 
in the mountain torrent — a fit display of the energetic 
powers about him, and of his own mean, inanimated 

' But for want of this complete illustration, we may 
select instances where the general character is heavy 
and dull, or where that idleness which has been digni- 
fied unjustly with the name of co?ite?itme7it exists. Or 
we may take a particular individual, and select such 
parts of his character as are most subject to the be- 
numbing influence of apathy. We cannot fail of find- 
ing (each in his circle) plenty like to the first of these ; 
and perhaps I should not assert too much if I were to 
say we are all included among the latter. 

' What, then (in the name of Improvement I ask it), 
what is the reason that, with all these facihties, without 
a single apparent difiiculty, Ave are destitute in subject 
and meagre in interest ? Alas ! it must be apathy ; that 
minister of ignorance has spread his wing over us, and 
we shrink into indolence. Our efforts are opposed by 
his power, and, aided by our mean sensations of ease, he 
triumphs over our better judgment, and tlirusts it clown 


to contempt. And is it possible that a being endowed 
with such high capabihties as man, and destined to such 
eminent purposes, should see his powers withered, his 
object unattained, through the influence of that mean 
thing, habit, and still remain content? Can it be that 
the degradation and a consciousness of it exist at one 
and the same time in the same being ? or has apathy so 
powerful an agent in self-complacency that conviction 
is put to flight, and allowed no place in the breast ? 
Whatever be the reason, the melancholy truth is evident, 
that we are fit for the noblest purposes, but that we 
fulfil them not. 

' Nor is it over that appropriation of the reasoning 
powers alone which constitutes literary and scientific 
knowledge that this demon sways his withering sceptre. 
He triumphs also over the busy walks of commerce, 
and, alas ! in the humble paths of morality. You shall 
sometimes see a tradesman set out in life with excellent 
prospects, stimulated by hope, ambition, interest, emula- 
tion, the incitement of his friends, and his own gratifica- 
tions ; he wiU exert every nerve to secure success, and 
he will succeed. You shall see this man gain on the world, 
till he stands, a fair example to others of the prosperity 
attendant on industry. He is raised above want, even 
the want of a luxury. But later in life you shall see 
this man ' fall from his high estate,' and, accompanied 
by repinement, regret, and contempt, sink into poverty 
and misery. The cause is idleness — apathy. Early in 
life he had been stimulated to personal exertions, and 
his due reward was prosperity. With it, however, came 
enjoyment, and as his wealth increased, so did the love 
of its pleasures. That full draughts might be taken of 
the sweetened cup of hfe, he resigned his cares into the 


hands of subordinate managers, and gave himself up to 1818^ 
habits of enjoyment and ease. The strong interest ^t- 26. 
which made his affairs prosper no longer governs them ; 
but a secondary feehng actuates those to whom they are 
entrusted, and the energy of the measures taken for 
their preservation sinks in proportion. There is now 
no individuality between the results and the manager. 
Neglect creeps in; the shadows of confusion come over. 
At some thwarted moment the master sees this ; he 
would fain rise to activity, but habit has imperceptibly 
taken possession of him. He struggles into exertion ; but 
his exertions are momentary, and he falls again into 
supineness. Delays retard the aid he should bring, 
whilst they accelerate the fate attending him, until at 
last, when too late, the bright prospect and the solid 
realities recede together into obscurity and chaos. 

' You will tell me perhaps that this is imaginary, or 
that at most it occurs but now and then, in very insulated 
instances ; but I will give it as my own opinion that 
every tradesman realises it more or less. Where is 
the man who has used his utmost exertions in the pro- 
secution of his affairs ? Where is the person who has 
never relaxed but when fatigue required it ? Has plea- 
sure never taken place of business at an inconvenient 
moment? Has an appointment never been missed 
through careless delay? Has anyone reason to con- 
gratulate himself that he has lost nothing through 
inattention and neglect ? If you assent to what these 
questions imply, you assent to my proposition, and allow 
that apathy is stronger at times even than interest. 

' In morality I fear I should not have so difficult a task 
in estabhshing my assertion as in interest. When we 
continually see the former giving way under the in- 


fluence of the latter, there is but little hope that it 
should withstand this influence, or that that which has 
conquered the stronger power shall not overcome the 
weaker. Morality seems the natural impression of the 
Deity within us. It ministers only to the serene and 
healthy but quiet pleasures of the heart, and has little 
to do with the passions and gratifications of the human 
being of this age. It is continually buffeted about in 
the tempest of temporal excitement, and rarely fails to 
suffer. Perhaps if the human being were placed out of 
the sphere of earthly influence, were not dependent upon 
it for support, and found no tempting pleasures in its 
productions, he might become conscious, even sponta- 
neously, of the gratifications arising from the fulfilment 
of duties, and become more and more virtuous for 
virtue's sake ; but, crossed as his good resolutions are 
by temptations and excitements, some effect must be 
produced which tends to warp the result of his convic- 
tion, and prevent that progression which ought to have 
place. Some take the system of morality as they find 
it for their standard, and act no further than it directs, 
forgetting that the institutions and the abuses of society 
frequently sanction vice of the most gross or the most 
contemptible kind. Ask the glutton whether moderation 
is a virtue and excess a vice. He will tell you yes, but 
his moderation is eating, drinking, and feasting ; and his 
excess only that which produces dropsy, apoplexy, and 
death. Ask the gentleman what is the greatest disgrace 
to him ; he tells you, a lie ; but all the falsities of civilised 
and polite life are excluded from that term when he uses 
it. The morality of these persons, therefore, is the 
convenient system they have made up for themselves ; 
gratification generally prevents them from perceiving 


any other, and if it fails, apathy secures them from any 
improvement. Others can perceive the right and the 
wrong, and have no objection to inculcate the purest 
principles. They do not like, however, to resign the 
pleasures they can secure by a slight practical trespass of 
their own rules ; and that which in reality is the result of 
degraded taste and idleness they call expediency, and ex- 
cuse their little derehctions from pure virtue by naming 
them necessary submissions to the present state of things. 

' But leaving this melancholy picture of the efiects 
of apathy on the human mind in your hands for con- 
sideration, I shall hasten to put an end to these ob- 
servations by a few words on the effect of industry or 
the inertia of an active mind. 

' Industry is the natural state of man, and the perfec- 
tion of his nature is dependent on it ; the progression 
which distinguishes him from everything else in the 
material world is maintained by it alone. The sun 
rises and sets, and rises and sets again. Spring, sum- 
mer, autumn, and winter, succeed each other only to 
be succeeded by the same round. A plant rises from 
out of the earth, puts forth leaves and buds ; it strength- 
ens, arrives at maturity, and then dies, giving place 
to other individuals who traverse the same changes. 
An animal is born, grows up, and at last gives signs 
even of intelligence ; but he dies without having im- 
proved his species : and it is man alone who leaves 
a memento behind him by his deeds of his having 
existed ; who surpasses his predecessors, exalts his pre- 
sent generation, and supports those that follow him. 

' Mere effects, however, which distinguish him from 
every other animated being, are only to be produced 
by industry ; it is that which enables him to add to the 

VOL. I. K 


sum of knowledge already in possession of the world, 
to increase tlie stock of good which ennobles his nature. 
If he be not active, not in a state of improvement, what 
better is he than the brutes ? In his own nature, none ; 
and it is only what society has superinduced upon him of 
its manners and customs that distinguishes him from 

' Dryden, I think, wrote an epitaph upon such an one, 
and it is very expressive of the vacuity of character 
and paucity of interest which such a being possesses or 
excites : — ■ 

' Here lies Sir John Guise : no one laughs, no one cries. 
Where he's gone, how he fares, no one knows, no one cares. 

' I have already endeavoured to establish the analogy 
between a habit of industry and the inertia of a moving 
body ; and as I fear I have too much trespassed upon 
your time and your good judgment in the foregoing 
attempts, I shall not further pursue it. I am sure that 
it is not needful for me to point out the good effects 
which would result to the Society from the active exer- 
tion of its members ; they must either have felt conscious 
of it already, or otherwise have found reasons against 
me which it would be politic in me first to hear. I 
shall, in conclusion, merely make an observation which 
I trust will extenuate me from the charge of harshness, 
and put a question (rather for form's sake than the ques- 
tion itself), with which I shall leave it in your hands. 

' I have said that the inertia of matter is continually 
blended with other forces which complex its results and 
render them apparently contrary to their cause, and 
also that in this respect it resembles the inertia of the 
mind. This of course is equivalent to an avowal that 


tliere are natural disturbing forces of the inertia of 1818. 
the mind, and that an irregular, a retarded, or even ^1.26-27. 
an inverted progression must at times take place in 
knowledge and morality without any gross charge 
being incurred by mankind. I do not deny it. It was 
not, however, my particular object to discuss these 
forces, but the more general and fundamental one. If 
any, therefore, feels offended with what may appear like 
animadversions, he is at perfect liberty to take shelter 
behind these extenuations and secure himself from 

' In pursuing the analogy in my own mind of this 
general influence to which both matter and mind are 
subjected, I was led to a conclusion respecting mental 
inertia, which, though I have no reason to doubt, I 
should be fearful of uttering on my own authority 
alone. I will therefore put it in the form of a query ; 
supposing, however, that stiU you will direct your 
conversation, if you feel incited, as much to the current 
remarks as to the question which wiU terminate them. 
Inertia has a sway as absolute in natural philosophy 
over moving bodies as over those at rest. It there- 
fore does not retard motion or change, but is as 
frequently active in continuing that state as in oppos- 
ing it. Now, is this the case with mental inertia ? 

' That I may ask the question more distinctly, I will 
preface it by two others, which, if disallowed, will give 
rise to conversation ; if allowed, will prepare for the 
third. Are there not more passive than active minds 
in the world ? Is mental inertia as puissant in active 
as in idle cases ? Then, what is the cause of the state 
implied by the first question? or what is the reason 
why, unlike the material world, there is so much more 



^^^^- , of inanimation than of activity in the intellectual 
^T. 26-27. world ? ' 

Such were Faraday's thoughts at this time, and from 
his commonplace-book more of his mind and work 
during this year can be seen : — 

His notes begin with Lectures on Oratory, by Mr. 
B. H. Smart. These were very fully reported, filling 
one hundred and thirty-three pages. 

Questions for Dorset Street. An experimental agi- 
tation of the question of electrical induction. ' Bodies 
do not act where they are not : ' Query, is not the 
reverse of this true ? Do not all bodies act where 
they are not, and do any of them act where they are ? 
Query — the nature of courage, is it a quality or a 
habit .? 

Query — the nature of pleasure and pain, positive, 
comparative, and habitive ? Observations on the inertia 
of the mind. On the improvability of mental capacity. 

Chemical questions. 

If sulphur and red lead, mixed, are blown out from a 
bag on to the balls of two jars charged with electri- 
city, but in different states, the positive jar will attract 
the sulphur, but repel the red lead, whilst the negative 
jar -ml] attract the red lead and repel the sulphur, 
and the balls will become coated, this with red lead 
and that with sulphur. These attractions appear con- 
trary to the laws observed in the voltaic circuit. Query, 
why ? What is the red substance formed when a 
candle is hghted by a sulphur match? Query, the 
nature of sounds produced by llame in tubes 

Is it possible to imitate, by common electrical in- 
duction, the perpetual motion of De Luc's column, as 


by conveying away two wires, guarded all the way in 1818. 
a tube, to some distance from the ends of a conductor -ST.26-27. 
in a state of induction, and attaching leaves to the 
extremities ? or would the induction act along the wires 
as well as on the conductor, and prevent any effect of 
attraction? The experiment to be varied, and extended, 
and applied to explain the column. 

What is the nature of the acid formed by the ether 
lamp and wire ? The application of the hydrometer 
to taking specific gravities of solid bodies. 

Do the pith balls diverge by the disturbance of 
electricity in consequence of mutual induction or not ? 

When phosphorus is placed in nitrate of silver, is 
ammonia formed ? What is the action of phosphorus 
on nitrate of ammonia .? Query, the nature of the 
body Philhps burns in his spirit-lamp ? He says it is 
obtained during the distillation of wood. What are the 
nature and uses of the solution of the tanno-gelatine 
formed by ammonia ? 

Effect of the light of peroxide of zinc, heated by a 
blow-pipe, on a mixture of chlorine and hydrogen. 

Distil oxalate of ammonia. Query, results ? The 
nature of the calcareous salt of rhubarb. 

General practical observations. Whilst passing 
through manufactories, and engaged in the observance 
of the various operations in civilised life, we are con- 
stantly hearing observations made by those who find 
employment in those places, and are accustomed to 
a minute observation of what passes before them, 
which are new or frequently discordant with received 
opinions. These are generally the result of facts, 
and though some are founded in error, some on pre- 
judice, yet many are true and of high importance 


1818- to tlie practical man. Such as come in my way I 
-ffiT.26-27. shall set down here, without waiting for the principle 
on which they depend ; and though three-fourths of 
them ultimately prove to be erroneous, yet if but 
one new fact is gathered in a multitude, it wiU be 
sufficient to justify this mode of occupying time. 

Act against transmutation repealed by 1 Wilham & 
Mary, st. i. c. 30. Anno quinto Henrici IV. cap. iv. : 
' It shall be felony to use the craft of multiphcation of 
gold and silver.' 


The original work of this year is seen in the 
papers he published in the fourth and fifth volumes of 
the ' Quarterly Journal of Science.' These were on the 
combustion of the diamond, on the solution of silver in 
ammonia, on the sulphuret of phosphorus, on some 
combinations of ammonia with chlorides, and on the 
sounds produced by flame in tubes. 


Very few of the letters which he wrote in 1818 have 
been preserved. Directly and indirectly they show how 
much his time was now occupied. His correspondence 
with Abbott, with the exception of one letter, consists 
'- only of a few lines ; when it began it filled almost as 

many pages. There was a great change in his leisure. 
There was no change in his friendliness. 

The way in which Sir H. Davy ends one of his notes 
to Faraday at this time shows the position which Fara- 
day had gained. Davy generally wrote to Faraday a 
very few hnes only, upon some business, or about 
some commission which he wanted him to execute. 


' Royal Institution : Friday, February 27, 1818. 

' Dear B , I was extremely shocked at the note I 

received from you the other day, for the circumstance 
came on me entirely unexpected. I thought you had 
all been pretty well, and was regretting that, though I 
had been negligent in our intercourse, I neither saw nor 
heard from you. 

'It is not necessary, B., that I should offer you conso- 
lation at this time ; you have all the resources neces- 
sary within yourself : but I scruple not, though at the 
risk of reagitating your fatigued feelings, to express my 
sorrow at the event and condolence with you. It has 
been my lot of late to see death — not near me, it is true 
— but around me on all sides, and I have thought and 
reasoned on it until it has become in appearance harm- 
less, and a very commonplace event. I fear at times 
that I am becoming too torpid and insensible to the 
awe that generally, and perhaps properly, accompanies 
it, but I cannot help it ; and when I consider my own 
weak constitution, the time I have passed, and the pro- 
bable near approach of that end to all earthly things, 
I still do not feel that inquietude and alarm which 
might be expected. It seems but being in another 

■ But I must shorten these reflections. I have not 
time, nor you, I imagine, serenity to bear them — but 
philosophise, or, if you please, moralise — the world may 
laugh as long as it pleases at the cant of these terms — so 
long as they alter not the things, they are welcome to 
their enjoyment. You will find your best resources in 


reason, and I am sure that, conscious of that truth, you 
have gone to it in distress. 

' You say you left many messages at Mr. G.'s : I 
have not heard them ; but I have been little there or 
anywhere except on business, so that they missed me. 
I have been more than enough employed. We have 
been obliged even to put aside lectures at the Institu- 
tion ; and now I am so tired with a long attendance at 
Guildhall yesterday and to-day, being subpoenaed, with 
Sir H. Davy, Mr. Brande, Phillips, Aikin, and others, 
to give chemical information on a trial (which, hoAV- 
ever, did not come off), that I scarcely know what I 

' I fear, dear B., that the desultory character of my 
letter will hurt rather than console your feelings, but I 
could not refrain longer from acknowledging yours 
and the pain it gave me. 

' Make my kindest remembrances to all ; and believe 
me, dear B., yours as ever, 

' M. Faeaday.' 


' Koyal Institution : Octoter 6, 1818. 

' Dear Sir, — Your kindness when here in requesting 
me to accept the honour of a communication with you on 
the topics which occur in the general progress of science, 
was such as almost to induce me to overstep the mo- 
desty due to my humble situation in the philosophi- 
cal world, and to accept of the offer you made me. But 
I do not think I should have been emboldened thus to 
address you, had not Mr. Newman since then informed 
me that you had again expressed a wish to him that I 
should do so ; and fearful that you should misconceive 


my silence, I put pen to paper, willing rather to run the 
risk of being thought too bold, than of incurring the 
charge of neglect towards one who had been so kind to 
me in his expressions. 

' My slight attempts to add to the general stock of 
chemical knowledge have been received with favourable 
expressions by those around me ; buti have, on reflection, 
perceived that this arose from kindness on their part, 
and the wish to incite me on to better things. I have 
always, therefore, been fearful of advancing on what had 
been said, lest I should assume more than was in- 
tended ; and I hope that a feeling of this kind will ex- 
plain to you the length of time which has elapsed 
between the time when you required me to write and 
the present moment when I obey you. 

' I am not entitled, by any peculiar means of obtain- 
ing a knowledge of what is doing at the moment in 
science, to your attention ; and I have no claims in 
myself to it. I judge it probable that the news of the 
philosophical world will reach you much sooner through 
other more authentic and more dignified sources ; and 
my only excuse even for this letter is obedience to 
your wishes, and not on account of anything interesting 
for its novelty. 

' That my letter may not, however, be entirely devoid 
of interest, I will take the liberty of mentioning and 
commending to you a new process for the preparation 
of gas for illumination.' (He then goes on to describe 
the preparation of gas from fish oil.) 

' I am afraid that with all my reasons I have not been 
able to justify this letter. If my fears are true, I regret 
at least it was your kindness drew it from me, and to 
your kindness I must look for an excuse. 



' I am, dear Sir, with great respect, your obedient 
humble servant, ' M. Faeadat. 

The end of one letter from Davy to Faraday is of 
sufficient interest to be given here. 

Eome : October, 1818. 

' Mr. Hatchett's letter contained praises of you which 
were very gratifying to me ; for, beUeve me, there is 
no one more interested in your success and welfare 
than your sincere well-wisher and friend, 

' H. Davy.' 

In 1819 the medium through which Faraday's nature 
and the progress of his knowledge are seen in one 
respect differs from that of the previous year. 
During an excursion into Wales in July he kept a 
journal. In it he shows his love of beautiful scenery, 
his power of describing it, his close observation of 
the metal and slate works of the country, and the 
overflowing kindness of his nature. The notes of one 
lecture which he gave at the City Philosophical Society 
have been kept. The subject was the forms of matter. 
It shows the freedom and breadth of his thoughts, his 
desire ' to avoid the whisperings of fancy,' his belief 
that facts are the only things which we are sure are 
worthy of trust. In one part of his lecture he brings 
forward that fourth or radiant state of matter which 
has now passed out of thought. And he states that at 
this period he inclined to the opinion of the immaterial 
nature of heat, hght, electricity, &c. He ended thus : 
' AH I wish to point out is the necessity to preserve 
the mind from philosophical prejudices. The man 


who wishes to advance in knowledge should never of 
himself fix obstacles in the way.' 

His note-book contains nothing of interest. His 
published papers were many, but none of great im- 
portance. There is only one letter to Abbott, and 
that shows how much his time was occupied. It 
appears from the letters of Sir H. Bavy, that the 
Herculaneum manuscripts ' might have been subjected 
to Faraday's manipulation at Naples if he could have 
left the Eoyal Institution. 




The Eegulator is an excellent coach. I mounted 
the top of it at the White Horse, Piccadilly, about a 
quarter past five on Saturday morning, July 10, and 
it set me down in Bristol about ten o'clock the same 
evening. On getting up next morning, Sunday, July 11, 
I troubled the waiter for an early breakfast, and then, 
with an old ostler for my guide, set off to see Chfton 
and Hot Wells. 

Having returned to the inn and bade my guide good 
morning, I found I had still time to spare for a walk ; 
the mail not leaving town until past twelve o'clock. 
On the quay I found a very respectable man preaching 
in a very respectable manner from the top of a dog- 
house to a number of persons ; among whom were 
many seamen and poor women extremely neat and 
clean in their dress. After general exhortations, he 
addressed himself to the seamen more particularly. 



, ^^^^- . and called their attention in very good and strong 
^T. 27. language to their mode of life, their dangers, their 
resources, and their general moral habits. He did not 
hesitate to censure them very strongly ; but yet he 
succeeded in commanding so much respect as to give 
no offence. The men around him, mates and common 
seamen, were extremely attentive ; many were un- 
covered, though the preacher himself was not. And 
in listening, it did not seem the mere effect of habit or 
duty, but a strong and interested attention. They 
chid some unruly boys in a way which showed their 
seriousness and decorum, and 1 left them an earnest 
preacher and an attentive audience. 

After an early breakfast, Monday morning, July 12, 
at Cardiff, I took a postchaise and proceeded on to 
Merthyr. In the afternoon I rambled with Mr. Guest's 
agent over the works at Dowlais. I was much amused 
by observing the effect the immensity of the works 
had on me. The operations were all simple enough, 
but from their extensive nature, the noise which ac- 
companied them, the heat, the vibration, the hum of 
men, the hiss of engines, the clatter of shears, the fall 
of masses, I was so puzzled I could not comprehend 
them except very imperfectly. The mind was drawn 
to observe effects rather for their novelty than 
for their importance, and it was only when by going 
round two or three times I could neglect to listen to 
sounds at first strange, or to look at rapid motions, that 
I could readily trace the process through its essential 
parts, and compare easily and quickly one part with 

Saturday, 17 th. — We crossed Neath bridge about nine 
o'clock. An innkeeper of the town, who was entering. 


it on horseback, saluted us in passing, and put his card 
into our hands ; and so shght was the impulse which 
directed our course, that this was sufficient to take us 
to his house. I think there cannot be a more pleasur- 
able feeling belonging to existence, than that which a 
man has when no artificial circumstance confines him. 
Every place is a home, every being a friend. He is 
always in possession of his object, he runs no risk from 
disappointment. Wherever we went it was the same 
to us ; wherever we went we were sure of novelty and 

Monday, 19</t. — Proceeding onwards into Breck- 
nockshire, we suddenly heard the roar of water where 
we least expected it, and came on the edge of a deep 
and woody dell. Entering among the trees, we scram- 
bled onwards after our guide, tumbling and slipping 
and jumping and swinging down the steep sides of the 
dingle, sometimes in the path of a running torrent, 
sometimes in the projecting fragments of slate, and 
sometimes where no path or way at all was visible. 
The thorns opposed our passage, the boughs dashed 
their drops in our faces, and stones frequently slipped 
from beneath our feet into the chasm below, in places 
where the view fell uninterrupted by the perpendicular 
sides of the precipices. By the time we had reached 
the bottom of the dingle, our boots were completely 
soaked, and so slippery that no reliance could be 
placed on steps taken in them. We managed, however, 
very well, and were amply rewarded by the beauty of 
the fall which now came in view. Before us was a 
chasm inclosed by high perpendicular and water-worn 
rocks of slate, from the sides of which sprang a luxu- 
riant vegetation of trees, bushes, and plants. In its 



bosom was a basin of water, into which, fell from above 
a stream divided into minute drops from the resistance 
of its deep fall. Here and there lay trunks of trees 
which had been brought down by the torrent — strildng 
marks of its power — and the rugged bed of shingles and 
rocky masses further heightened the idea other objects 
were calculated to give of the force it possessed when 
swelled by rains. We stepped across the river on a 
few tottering and slippery stones placed in its bed, and 
passing beneath the overhanging masses ran round 
on projecting points, until between the sheet of water 
and the rock over which it descended ; and there we re- 
mained some time, admiring the scene. Before us was 
the path of the torrent, after the fine leap which it 
made in this place ; but the abundance of wood hid it 
ere it had proceeded many yards from the place where 
it fell. No path was discernible from hence, and we 
seemed to be inclosed on a spot from whence there 
was no exit, and where no cry for help could be heard 
because of the torrent-roar. 

The efiect of the wind caused by the descent of the 
stream was very beautiful. The air carried down by the 
stream, the more forcibly in consequence of the minute 
division of the water, being resisted by the surface of 
the lake beneath, passed ofi" in all directions from the 
fall, sweeping many of the descending drops with it. 
Between us and the fall the drops fell brilliant and 
steady till within a few inches of the bottom, when 
receiving a new impulse they flew along horizontally, 
light and airy as snow. A mist of minute particles 
arose from the conflicting waters, and being driven 
against the rocks by the wind clothed them with 
moisture, and created myriads of miniature cascades, 


which faUing on the fragments beneath poHshed them 
to a state of extreme slipperiness. 

The fall is called Scwd-yv-h6n-rhyd, or Glentarec, 
and is produced by the descent of the river Hen-rhyd. 
It is called 300 feet high, but is really only 105. The 
river afterwards proceeds into the Towey Vale, and 
discharges itself at Swansea into the Channel. 

Taesdai/, 20th. — After dinner I set off on a ram- 
ble to Melincourt, a waterfall on the north side of 
the valley, and about six miles from our inn. Here I 
got a little damsel for my guide who could not speak 
a word of English. "We, however, talked together all 
the way to the fall, though neither knew what the 
other said. I was delighted with her burst of pleasure 
as, on turning a corner, she first showed me the water- 
fall. WhUst I was admiring the scene, my little Welsh 
damsel was busy running about, even under the stream, 
gathering strawberries. On returning from the fall I 
gave her a shilling that I might enjoy her pleasure : 
she curtsied, and I perceived her dehght. She again 
ran before me back to the village, but wished to step 
aside every now and then to pull strawberries. Every 
bramble she carefully moved out of the way, and ven- 
tured her bare feet to try stony paths, that she might 
find the safest for mine. I observed her as she ran 
before me, when she met a village companion, open 
her hand to show her prize, but without any stoppage, 
word, or other motion. When we returned to the 
village I bade her good-night, and she bade me fare- 
well, both by her actions and I have no doubt her 
language too. 

Sterne may rise above Peter Pastoral and Stoics above 
Sterne, in the refined progress of human feeling and 



human reason, but he who feels and enjoys the impulses 
of nature, however generated, is a man of nature's own 
forming, and has all the dignity and perfection of his 
race, though he may not have adopted the refinements 
of art. I never felt more honourable in my own eyes 
than I did this evening, whilst enjoying the display this 
artless girl made of her feeUngs. 

The evening was beautiful ; a short fine sunset or- 
namented the heavens with a thousand varying tints, 
and my walk home was delightful. 

Saturday, lith. — We departed from the Devil's 
Bridge, the waiter having assured us we should easily 
find our way over the mountains to Machynleth. Now 
this sounded very smooth and fair, but no account was 
taken of the following circumstances : 1, no roads; 2, 
no houses ; 3, no people ; 4, rivers but no bridges ; 
and 5, plenty of mountains. 

When we were within five miles of Machynleth the 
scenery began to change. On our left we had a fine 
view of Cardigan Bay, beneath us was the mouth of the 
river Dovey or Dyfi opening into it, and in the distance 
the extreme northern points of the bay in Carnarvonshire. 
Before us was Cader Idris rising above a host of moun- 
tains assembled at his base, and separated from us by a 
broad, deep, well-cultivated and wooded valley. On our 
right were mountains near at hand, part of the same 
chain as those on which we stood, and between their 
summits every now and then Plynlimmon appeared. 
We descended from our exalted station along a rugged 
path into the vale beneath, and soon entered amongst 
wood on the sides of the dells. The scenery became 
more and more enchanting as we proceeded, equalling 
all the cultivated beauties of Hafod, and surpassing them 


in the introduction of peasants' huts of the finest form 1819. 
and state for a picture. ^t. 27. 

I wanted a little alcohol, and having found out a 
doctor's shop and a spruce doctor's man, got some. I 
then asked for a little spirits of salts, hoping I could 
have it in a glass-stoppered bottle. The man found 
me a bottle, having emptied one of his preparations out 
of it, and would then have poured in acid ; but it w^as 
not the acid I wanted, and I again mentioned spirits of 
salts to him, willing to allow everything to the pos- 
sibility of his ignorance of the scientific name, but 
at the same time adding muriatic acid, to save his 
credit if possible. He now seemed to understand me, 
and reaching down another bottle again prepared to 
pour, but I stopped him. ' It is muriatic acid that I 
want.' ' This is muriatic acid, sir.' ' No, that is nitric 
acid.' ' They are the same, sir.' ' Oil no, there is a little 
difference between them, and one will not do for me so 
well as the other.' I then endeavoured to explain that 
the one came from nitre, the other from common 
table salt. He comprehended a difference between 
these two bodies, but not between their acids ; and he 
brought out a pharmacopoeia, and opening it at muriatic 
acid, uttered the Latin name and synonyms fluently and 
with great emphasis, endeavouring thus to prove to me 
the two were alike. I was really ashamed to correct the 
doctor, and if I had not been under the necessity of vin- 
dicating my contradiction of him, should have left him in 
ignorance. However, at last I made him comprehend 
from his own book that there was sometliing like a differ- 
ence between these acids, but I don't think he shut the 
book much improved by the afTuir. I could scarcely 
afterwards look at the man. If he had any feelino- 

VOL. I. s 



^^^9- . and he appeared to have a considerable stock of pride — 
Mt 27. he must have felt himself extremely lowered in the 
eyes of strangers, and before his own companion who 
was standing by. I began to rummage his bottles for 
muriatic acid myself, but I must do him the justice 
to say that he first found out what little they had 
(about an ounce), and that he really compared it 
with the nitric acid — I hope for information, though 
his object professedly was to show me how hke they 

Is it not strange that a man so ignorant of his pro- 
fession should still appear respectable in it, or that one 
so incompetent should be entrusted with the liealth 
and lives of his fellow-creatures ? Had I seen nothing 
more than his haughty dictatorial behaviour to a poor 
woman who came in with a prescription and a bottle in 
her hand, I should have concluded him to be a man who 
had attained the utmost knowledge of and confidence 
in his art ; seeing what I did, I cannot enough condemn 
the being who with such ignorance still apes the im- 
portance of highest wisdom, and who, without a know- 
ledge even of the first requisites to an honourable but 
dangerous profession, assumed to himself its credit and 
its power, and dashed at once upon human life with all 
the means of destruction about him, and the most per- 
fect ignorance of their force. 

Sunday, July 2Qth. — Ascent of Cader Idris. 

The thunder had gradually become more and more 
powerful, and now rain descended. The storm had com- 
menced at the western extremity of the valley, and 
rising up Cader Idris traversed it in its length, and then 
passing over rapidly to the south-east, deluged the Iiills 
Avith rain. The waters descended in torrents from the 


very tops of the highest hills in places where they had 
never yet been observed, and a river which ran behind 
the house into the lake below rose momentarily, over- 
flowed its banks, and extended many yards over the 
meadows. The storm then took another direction, 
passing over our heads to the spot in the west at which 
it had commenced, and having been very violent in its 
course, seemed there to be exhausted and to die away. 
The scene altogether was a very magnificent one — the 
lightning's vivid flash illuminated those parts which 
had been darkened by its humid habitation, and the 
thunder's roar seemed the agonies of the expiring clouds 
as they dissolved into rain ; whilst the mountains in 
echoes mocked the sounds, and laughed at the fruitless 
efforts of the elements against them. 

The wind rose in all directions, and I observed here, 
as has often been observed elsewhere, that the track of 
the storm seemed quite independent of it : the storm 
seeming rather to direct the wind than the wind the 

I rambled out as soon as the rain and hail would 
permit me, but it is impossible to describe the various 
characters and beauties of the fine views presented by 
this beautiful vale during and after the storm. Every 
fresh cloud, every change in the atmosphere, varied the 
combination of form and character belonging to the 
scene, and presented, as it were, a new one ; and I en- 
joyed all the pleasures of extensive and varying scenery 
without moving from my situation. 

Wet-footed and fatigued, we were obliged to stop 
when about one-third of the distance from the summit 
though on a very precarious tenure ; but now, more to 
embarrass us, clouds began to roll towards the summit 

s2 ' 


1819. and rain descended. We again hastened our exertions 
^T. 27. in order to get to the top and see where we were 
before all became hid in obscurity, and we at last 
gained the corner in a state of great exhaustion. The 
most dangerous part of the road as regarded our feet 
Avas now passed, but, enveloped in cloud, every part 
was dangerous. Nevertheless we pressed on. The 
mountain rose before us to a great height, terminating 
above in points, and the space between us and them 
was covered with large loose boulders. We stepped 
over them as quickly as possible, both for the sake of 
seeing from the top, before the storm came on, in what 
direction we were, and of getting shelter ; but the 
weather was too hard for us — in a few moments we 
could see nothing ten yards off, and only knew we were 
going up from the inclined sui-face. 

In a short time we got to a more level space, and 
hastening on to its edge endeavoured to look before us ; 
but the cloud and rain hid all, and all we could learn 
was that a tremendous chasm was there, indicated by 
the whiteness of the cloud that way, for on looking 
down we seemed to look into a sky. We retreated to a 
cleft in the rock for shelter from the wind and rain, 
meaning to wait some time in hopes the clouds would 
blow over. I was terribly alarmed here by supposing I 
had lost the compass : however, the compass was found 
at last, and then we got over one difficulty. 

Advancing merely for the sake of preserving our- 
selves in motion, we came to tracks among the fragments, 
Avhich, as tliey led to higher ground than that we stood 
upon, we followed, and after winding some time got to 
the highest cliff, and there found the hut made by tJie 
guides for shelter from storms. We did not stop there 


long, and had not left many minutes before the clouds 
began to disperse. We ran to the edge of the precipice 
to see where we were, and obtained a glimpse of a very 
magnificent scene ; but it was too transient, and we still 
had to wait for information. In a short time, however, 
it became clear, and we could perceive that the moun- 
tain expanded above into a ridge in some places a 
hundred yards wide, here and there covered with frag- 
ments of the rock, but in general green from grass. 
We could not as yet see into the valley, though the top 
was pretty free from clouds. The vapours remained 
beneath a long time, and it was pleasing to observe how 
the wind swept over the edge of the precipice, levelling 
the mist above its height, but leaving the valleys full. 
We got a peep over all into Cardigan Bay, and at the 
mountains in the distance. It was very sublime, and 
the mixture of air and earth thus presented was equal, 
I think, in effect to anything that can be imagined. After 
proceeding about three miles, we began to be assured we 
were on our way to Dolgelly. 

Friday, 30iA. — Breakfasted this morning at the 
Mitre Tavern, next door to the cathedral of this mighty 
city of Bangor. I am no judge of civic propriety, but 
I could not help taking Bangor for the caricature of a 
city, when told that it claimed the right of being called 
one. As for its cathedral, I was afraid to look at that, 
lest, from the glimpse I had already caught of it, I 
should take it for a caricature too, and I wished to give 
reverence for the name's sake. 

We started at a good pace to see the slate quarries, 
about six miles from Bangor. 

We now began to see the quarries at intervals from 
amongst the trees, like a number of hills of rubbish, on 


. 1819. the side of a mountain before us, and tlieir appearance 
jEt, 27. increased our eagerness to be at them. 

We had to make our way round and between several 
high hills of refuse slate before we got fairly into the 
works ; but when there, we were charmed with the 
novel and strange appearances of things. The splintery 
character of all about us, the sharp rocky projections 
above us, the peculiar but here general colour of the 
rock, together made up an appearance unlike anything 
I had seen before. We pushed on, boldly passing men 
and offices, and went up inclined ways and along rail- 
roads towards the explosions we heard a little way off. 
After having seen two or three very curious places, we 
tempted a man to leave his work and show us the road 
to the most interesting parts of the quarry, and he took 
us among the cliffs, where we almost repented we had 
asked to go. Smootli perpendicular planes of slate, 
many many feet in height, depth, and width, appeared 
above and below ; in all directions chasms yawned, pre- 
cipices frowned ; and the path which conducted amongst 
and through these strange places was sometimes on 
the edge of a slate splinter not many inches wide, 
though raised from the cliffs beneath into mid air. We 
then mounted, and at last gained a kind of slate pro- 
montory, which had been left projecting across the 
quarry. It was narrow, but walled on both edges. 
From hence we had a kind of bird's-eye view of the 
excavations and workings, and saw the men like pigmies 
below pursuing their various objects. It was certainly 
a very singular scene, and is like nothing else that I 
know of. Natural precipices do not convey the idea 
excited here, because they are in part rounded by the 
weather, and their smaller parts are generally some- 


■^vliat nodular or blunt, and, besides, they are modified in 
colour by the soil that lodges on and the vegetation 
that covers them. But here every fracture, whether 
large or small, presented sharp angles ; the fine sober 
colour was of the utmost freshness, and, in opposition to 
usual arrangement, the sides were the smooth and flat 
places, the bottoms being the rough irregular part, 
for the strata here are nearly perpendicular. All over 
the place were scattered men, sometimes sitting across 
a little projection starting from the sharp edge, or 
clinging on to a half-loosened splinter of the slate, and 
employed in making holes, tamping and blasting the 
rock. Eailways wound in every direction into the 
works, and waggons were continually moving about in 
the lively scene. Just before us they were going to 
blast, and they motioned us away from the place to be 
out of danger. The explosion did not, however, scatter 
the fragments, but it made a noble roar. 

We took the coach to Llangollen. The shades of 
evening now began to gather over us, and we all sank 
as if by agreement into a very quiet sober state, in which 
we should have continued perhaps the rest of our ride 
had not the expertness and agility of a blind woman 
roused us. Poor Bess was waiting in the road for the 
coaches — for there were two, ours and another imme- 
diately behind it — and on hearing the noise of the 
wheels, stepped a little on one side. When they were 
up to her she ran to the hinder part, and feeling for the 
wheels or the steps, got hold of the irons, and imme- 
diately mounted, spite of the coach's motion or her blind- 
ness. She and the guard appeared to be old friends, 
but we soon found her object was to sell her goods. 
She pulled out some Welsh wigs knitted by herself, and 



offered them to the passengers behhid for sale, pleading 
her blindness as a strong reason -why they should 
purchase. I bought one of the Welsh wigs in remem- 
brance of the old woman, and gave her one shilling 
and sixpence for it. She then pulled out some socks ; 
on which I scolded her for not producing them before. 
They were a shilling a pair, and I wanted to take them 
instead of the wig ; but she was unwilhng, even though 
I offered the eight een-penny Avig for the shilling socks; 
and we found afterwards from the guard, to whom she 
confessed her reason, that the wigs were her own knit- 
ting, but the socks she only sold for a neighbour. She 
then stretched across the coach to the front passengers, 
but they would not buy ; and afterwards she clung to the 
side of the vehicle, standing on the spring between the 
wheel and the body of the coach, and peeping (query) 
in at the windows, offered her articles for sale there : 
but they were boys only, and they did not want socks 
or Welsh wigs. 

Finding further stay on our coach useless, she de- 
scended, and avoiding the horses of the coach imme- 
diately behind us, got round it and mounted in the 
same manner as she had done with us. But I am 
afraid all her exertions did not gain her any further 
success at this time, for she soon after got down and 
went off home. 

Saturday, 2>lst. — Llangollen. We had time this morn- 
ing to enjoy the inn we had entered, and which possesses 
a very high character for cleanliness, attention, and 
comfort. We certainly found it so, and entirely free 
from the inconveniences which inns have in general 
either more or less. Whilst at breakfast, the river 
Dee flowing before our windows, the second harper I 


have heard in Wales struck his instrumeut, and played 
some airs in very excellent style. I enjoyed them for 
a long time, and then, wishing to gratify myself with 
a sight of the interesting hard, went to the door and 
beheld — the boots! He, on seeing me open the door, 
imagined I wanted something, and, quitting his instru- 
ment, took up his third character of waiter. I must 
confess I was sadly disappointed and extremely baulked. 
Even at Bethgellert they had a good-looking blind old 
man, though he played badly ; and now, when I heard 
delightful sounds, and had assured myself the harper 
was in accordance with the effect he produced, he 
sank on a sudden, many many stages down, into a 
common waiter. Well — after all, I certainly left Llan- 
gollen regretting the harp less because of the person 
who played it- 

This year a lecture. On the Forms of Matter, was 
given at the City Philosophical Society : in it he shows 
his views regarding matter and force at this time. 

' In the constant investigation of nature pursued by 
curious and inquisitive man, some causes which retard 
his progress in no mean degree arise from the habits 
incurred by his exertions ; and it not unfrequently 
happens, that the man who is the most successful in his 
pursuit of one branch of philosophy thereby raises up 
difficulties to his advancement in another. 

' Necessitated as we are, in our search after the laws 
impressed upon nature, to look for them in the effects 
which are their aim and end, and to read them in 
the abstracted and insulated phenomena which they 
govern, we gradually become accustomed to distinguish 
things with almost preternatural facility ; and induced 



^ 1819. by i]jQ gase which is found to be afforded to the 
JEt. 27. memory and other faculties of the mind, division and 
subdivision, classification and arrangement, are eagerly- 
adopted and strenuously retained. 

' Much as the present stage of knowledge owes to 
this tendency of the human mind to methodise, and 
therefore to facilitate its labours, still it may complain 
that in some directions it has been opposed and held 
down to error by it. All method is artificial and 
all arrangement arbitrary. The distinction we make 
between classes, both of thoughts and things, are dis- 
tinctions of our own ; and though we mean to found 
them on nature, we are never certain we have actually 
done so. That which appears to us a very marked 
distinctive character may be really of very subordinate 
importance, and where we can perceive nothing but 
analogies and resemblances, may be concealed nature's 
greatest distinctions. 

' The evil of method in philosophical pursuits is 
indeed only apparent, and has no real existence but in 
the abuse. But the system-maker is unwilling to believe 
that his explanations are not perfect, the theorist to 
allow that incertitude hovers about him. Each condemns 
what does not agree with his method, and consequently 
each departs from nature. And unfortunately, though no 
one can conceive why another should presume to bound 
the universe and its laws by his wild and fantastic 
imaginations, yet each has a reason for retaining and 
cherishing his own. 

' The disagreeable and uneasy sensation produced by 
incertitude will always induce a man to sacrifice a slight 
degree of probabihty to the pleasure and ease of resting 
on a decided opinion ; and where the evidence of a 


tiling is not quite perfect, the deficiency will be easily 
supplied by desire and imagination. The efforts a man 
makes to obtain a knowledge of nature's secrets merit, 
he thinks, their object for their reward ; . and though 
he may, and in many cases must, fail of obtaining his 
desire, he seldom thinks himself unsuccessful, but sub- 
stitutes the whisperings of his own fancy for the reve- 
lations of the goddess. 

' Thus the love a man has for his own opinion, his 
readiness to form it on uncertain grounds rather than 
remain in doubt, and the necessity he is under of re- 
ferring to particular and individual examples in illustra- 
tion of his views of nature, all tend to the production of 
habits of mind which are partial and warped. These 
habits it is which give rise to the difference of opinion in 
men on every possible subject. All parts of the system 
both of the moral and natural world are constant in 
their natures, presenting the same appearances at all 
times and to all men. But we cannot perceive them 
in all their bearings and relations ; we view them in 
different states and tempers of mind, and we hasten to 
decide upon them. Hence it happens, that a judo-- 
ment is made for future use which not only differs in 
different individuals, but, unfortunately, from truth 

' As it regards natural philosophy, these bad, but more 
or less inevitable, effects are perhaps best opposed 
by cautious but frequent generalisations. It is true 
that with the candid man experience will do very 
much, and after having found in some instances the 
necessity of altering previous opinions, he will retain 
a degree of scepticism in future on all those points 
which are not proved to him. But generalisations 



"will aid the efforts a man makes to free himself 
from erroneous ideas and prejudices ; for, presenting to 
us the immense family of facts ranged according to the 
relationships of the individuals, it makes evident many- 
analogies and distinctions which escape the mind when 
engaged on each separately, and corrects those errors 
consequent on partial views. 

'We are obhged, from the confined nature of our 
powers, to consider of but one thing at a time. Gene- 
ralisation compensates in part the resulting inconveni- 
ences, and in an imperfect way places many things 
before us ; and the more carefully this is done the 
more accurately our partial notions are corrected. 

' Ultimately, however, facts are the only things.which 
we are sure are \yorthy of trust. All our theories and 
explanations of the laws which govern them, whether 
particular or general, are necessarily deduced from in- 
sufficient data. They are probably most correct when 
they agree with the greatest number of phenomena, 
and when they do not appear incompatible with each 
other. The test of an opinion is its agreement in asso- 
ciation with others, and we associate most when we 

' Hence I should recommend the practice of generalis- 
ing as a sort of parsing in philosophy. It occasions a 
review of single opinions, requires a distinct impres- 
sion of each, and ascertains their connection and 
government. And it is on this idea of the important 
use that may be made of generahsation, that I venture 
to propose for this evening a lecture on the general 
states of matter. 

' Matter defined— -essential and secondary properties. 

' Matter classed into four states — solid, liquid, gaseous, 


and radiant — which depend upon differences in the es- 
sential properties. 

'Eadiant state. — Purely hypothetical. Distinctions. 

'Eeasons for belief in its existence. Experimental 
evidence. Kinds of radiant matter admitted. 

' Such are the four states of matter most generally 
admitted. They do not belong to particular and se- 
parate sets of bodies, but are taken by most kinds of 
matter ; and it will now be found necessary, to a clear 
comprehension of their nature, to notice the pheno- 
mena which cause and accompany their transition into 
each other. 

' Some curious points arise respecting the changes in 
the forms of matter, which, though not immediately 
applicable to any convenient or important use, claim 
our respect as buddings of science which at some future 
period will be productive of much good to man. Of the 
bodies already taken and presented in various forms 
in illustration of this part of our subject, some have 
evinced their Protean nature in the production of strik- 
ing effects ; others there are which, being more con- 
stant to the states they take on, suffer a conversion of 
form with greater difficulty ; and others, again, have 
as yet resisted the attempts made to change their state 
by the application of the usual agencies of heat and 
cold. By the power of heat all sohd bodies have been 
fused into fluids, and there are very few the con- 
version of which into a gaseous form is at all doubtful. 
In inverting the method, attempts have not been so 
successful. Many gases refuse to resign their form, 
and some fhiids have not been frozen. If, however, 
we adopt means which depend on the rearrangement 


of particles, then these refractory instances disappear, 
and by combining substances together we can make 
them take the solid, fluid, or gaseous form at pleasure. 

' In these observations on the changes of state, I 
have purposely avoided mentioning the radiant state of 
matter, because, being purely hypothetical, it would not 
have been just to the demonstrated parts of the science 
to weaken the force of their laws by connecting them 
with what is undecided. I may now, however, notice a 
curious progression in physical properties accompanying 
changes of form, and which is perhaps sufiicient to 
induce, in the inventive and sanguine philosopher, a 
considerable degree of belief in the association of the 
radiant form with the others in the set of changes I 
have mentioned. 

'As we ascend from the solid to the fluid and 
gaseous states, physical properties diminish in number 
and variety, each state losing some of those which 
belonged to the preceding state. When solids are 
converted into fluids, all the varieties of hardness and 
softness are necessarily lost. Crystalline and other 
shapes are destroyed. Opacity and colour frequently 
give way to a colourless transparency, and a general 
mobihty of particles is conferred. 

' Passing onward to the gaseous state, still more of 
the evident characters of bodies are annihilated. The 
immense differences in their weights almost disappear ; 
the remains of difference in colour that were left are 
lost. Transparency becomes universal, and they are 
all elastic. They now form but one set of substances, 
and the varieties of density, hardness, opacity, colour, 
elasticity and form, which render the number of sohds 
and fluids alinost infinite, are now suppHed by a few 


slight variations in weight, and some unimportant ^819. 
shades of colour, ^t. 27. 

' To those, therefore, who admit the radiant form of 
matter, no difficulty exists in the simplicity of the proper- 
ties it possesses, but rather an argument in their favour. 
These persons show you a gradual resignation of proper- 
ties in the matter we can appreciate as the matter ascends 
in the scale of forms, and they would be surprised if that 
effect were to cease at the gaseous state. They point out 
the greater exertions which nature makes at each step of 
the change, and think that, consistently, it ought to be 
greatest in the passage from the gaseous to the radiant 
form ; and thus a partial reconciliation is established 
to the belief that all the variety of this fair globe may 
be converted into three kinds of radiant matter. 

' There ai'e so many theoretical points connected with 
the states of matter that I might involve you in the dis- 
cussions of philosophers through many lectures without 
doing justice to them. In the search after the cause 
of the changes of state of bodies, some have found it in 
one place, sorae in another ; and nothing can be more 
opposite than the conclusions they come to. The old 
philosophers, and with them many of the highest of the 
modern, thought it to be occasioned by a change either 
in the motion of the particles or in their attractive 
power ; whilst others account for it by the introduction 
of another kind of matter, called heat, or caloric, which 
dissolves all that we see changed. The one set assume a 
change in the state of the matter already existing, the 
other create a new kind for the same end. 

'The nature of heat, electricity, &c., are unsettled 
points relating to the same subject. Some boldly assert 
them to be matter ; others, more cautious, and not 



willing to admit the existence of matter without that 
evidence of the senses which applies to it, rank them 
as qualities. It is almost necessary that, in a lecture 
on matter and its states, I should give you my own 
opinion on this point, and it inclines to the immaterial 
nature of these agencies. One thing, however, is fortu- 
nate, which is, that whatever our opinions, they do not 
alter nor derange the laws of nature. We may think 
of heat as a property, or as matter : it will still be of 
the utmost benefit and importance to us. We may 
differ with respect to the way in which it acts : it wiH 
still act effectually, and for our good ; and, after all, our 
differences are merely squabbles about words, since 
nature, our object, is one and the same. 

'Nothing is more difficult and requires more care than 
philosophical deduction, nor is there anything more ad- 
verse to its accuracy than fixidity of opinion. The man 
who is certain he is right is almost sure to be wrong, and 
he has the additional misfortune of inevitably remaining 
so. All our theories are fixed upon uncertain data, and 
all of them want alteration and support. Ever since 
the world began, opinion has changed with the progress 
of things ; and it is something more than absurd to 
suppose that we have a sure claim to perfection, or 
that we are in possession of the highest stretch of 
intellect which has or can result from human thought. 
Why our successors should not displace us in our 
opinions, as well as in our persons, it is difficult to say ; 
it ever has been so, and from analogy would be sup- 
posed to continue so ; and yet, with all this practical 
evidence of the fallibility of our opinions, all, and none 
more than philosophers, are ready to assert the real 
truth of their opinions. 


' The history of the opinions on the general nature of 
matter would afford remarkable illustrations in support 
of what I have said, but it does not belong to my 
subject to extend upon it. All I wish to point out is, 
by a reference to light, heat, electricity, &c., and the 
opinions formed on them, the necessity of cautious and 
slow decision on philosophical points, the care with 
which evidence ought to be admitted, and the con- 
tinual guard against philosophical prejudices which 
should be preserved in the mind. The man who 
wishes to advance in knowledge should never of him- 
self fix obstacles in the way.' 


The few notes in his commonplace-book for this and 
the following year scarcely relate to science at all. 

Spoiled mutton — a parody on ' The Eose had been 

The figures 1 2 3, a fable. 

Iron columns in arcade round the Opera House 
cracked and broke in two. 

Leather fluid. Agricultural chemistry, Lecture 2nd, 
clearing land of stones. 

The Swiss song, ' Eanz des Vaches,' imitated. 

Pastilles. Preaching Trade. Eemedy for warts, 
juice from inner surface of broad-bean shells. Water 
ices and ice cream — alliteration, monosyllabic writing. 


He had nineteen notices and papers in the ' Quarterly 
Journal of Science,' volumes six and seven : the most 
important were on sirium or vestium, on the action of 
boracic acid on turmeric, on gallic acid, tannin, &c. ; 

VOL. I. T 



1819. on the separation of manganese from iron, on carbu- 
^T. 27. retted hydrogen, on nitrous oxide, on analysis of wootz 
or Indian steel, and on experimental observations on the 
passage of gases through tubes. In this last paper he 
continued the observations he had made in the previous 
year. His chief conclusion was that there was much 
more work to do on this subject, a result which the 
discoveries of Professor Graham in 1834 and 1849 
splendidly confirmed. 


' Eoyal Institution : April 27, 1819. 

■ ••*■■ 

' You will be aware that the business of the Institution 
must press hard upon me at this time and during the 
whole of the lectures. To this is added much private 
employment, which will not admit of neglect. With re- 
ference to my evenings, they are thus arranged : — On 
Monday evening there is a scientific meeting of members 
here, and every other Monday a dinner, to both of which 
my company is requisite. On Tuesday evening I have 
a pupil, who comes at six o'clock and stops till- nine, 
engaged in private lessons. On Wednesday the Society 
requires my aid. Thursday is my only evening for 
accidental engagements. Friday, my pupil returns and 
stops his three hours ; and on Saturday I have to 
arrange my little private business. Now you will see 
that, except on Tuesday and Friday after 9 o'clock, I 
have no evening but Thursday for anything that may 
turn up. Now for Thursday night I have engaged 
with a party to see Matthews, whom as yet I have not 
seen ; but on the Thursday following I shall expect 
you if you can find it convenient. 


' I must now hasten to my crucibles, so for the present ^1819. 
adieu. -^t. 27. 

' Yours very sincerely, 

' M. Faraday.' 

Early in February, 1819, Sir H. Davy wrote to Fara- 
day from Eome, — ' I have sent a report on the state of 
the MSS. to our Government, with a plan for the un- 
dertaking'of unrolling ; one part of the plan is to employ 
a chemist for the purpose at Naples : should they con- 
sent, I hope I shall have to make a proposition to you 
on the subject.' 

In May, Sir H. Davy writes from Florence : — 

' It gives me great pleasure to hear that you are 
comfortable at the Royal Institution, and I trust that 
you will not only do something good and honourable 
for yourself, but likewise for science. 

' I am, dear Mr. Faraday, always your sincere friend 
and well-wisher, 

' H. Davy.' 

At the end of the year Sir H. Davy again writes on 
this subject : — 

' Could you have left the Eoyal Institution for a few 
, months or a year, and have been secure of returning to 
your situation, I should have strongly recommended to 
you the employment at Naples. This indeed is still 
open, for the person I have engaged as operator is 
hired by the month. When I have seen my way a 
little as to the time the MS. operations will demand, 
I will write to you.' 

I 2 






^_1820^ Ip it were desirable to fix any date when the scientific 

Mt.28-29. education of Faraday might be said to have ended, 

and his work as an educated man of science might be 

said to have begun, it would be at the beginning of 

this period. 

For seven years as the private assistant of Davy, and 
as assistant in the laboratory and lecture-room at the 
Eoyal Institution, Faraday had now served his appren- 
ticeship to science. He had begun a most laborious ori- 
ginal investigation with Mr. James Stodart on the alloys 
of steel, which he was now about to publish. He had 
already had thirty-seven notices and papers printed 
in the ' Quarterly Journal of Science' (one or two of 
them were of great importance to science), and he had 
given his first course of lectures on chemistry at the City 
Philosophical Society with great success as a speaker 
and experimenter. 

But highly as Faraday was at this time educated, 
and much as he had done, he was as yet only at the 
beginning of a still higher education. It was not until 
the eleventh year from this date that his first paper ' On 
Experimental Eesearches in Electricity' was pubHshed. 


In other words, lie took eighteen years to educate 1820. 
himself for the great scientific work which he had ^t.28-29. 
to do. 

The progress of this education, the reputation which 
he obtained, the traits of his character, and the course 
of his life during this period, will be now shown, (1) 
in the works he published ; (2) in the lectures he gave ; 
(-3) in the honours paid to him ; (4) in the letters 
which he wrote and received. 

The events of this year may in some respects be 
considered the most important in the life of Earaday. 
His acquaintance with Mr. Tatum in 1810 in Fleet 
Street, and his introduction in 1812 to Sir Humphry 
Davy, had fixed his course in life, and had made him 
a scientific man. His engagement this year to be 
married to Sarah, the third daughter of Mr. Barnard 
of Paternoster Eow, an elder of the Sandemanian 
Church, made him a happy man for forty-seven years. 

Before proceeding to trace the progress of his edu- 
cation in science, by his publications and letters, it will 
be well to show his mind and character by means of a 
short journal, and the letters which he wrote in this 
and the following year on the subject of his proposal 
and his marriage. In this, as in every other act of his 
life, he laid open all his mind and the whole of his 
character, and he kept back none of his thoughts ; and 
what can here be made known can scarcely fail to 
charm every one by its loveliness, its truthfulness, and 
its earnestness. 

On two or three occasions Faraday had made notes 
in his commonplace-book of passages against love. 
His friend, Mr. Edward Barnard, saw this book, and 
spoke of these passages to his sister Sarah. Thus she 


knew that Faraday's thoughts were not in the way of 

On the 5th of July, 1820, Faraday wrote to Miss 
Sarah Barnard : — 

' Royal Institution. 

' You know me as well or better than I do myself. 
You know my former prejudices, and my present 
thoughts — you know my weaknesses, my vanity, my 
whole mind ; you have converted me from one erro- 
neous way, let me hope you will attempt to correct 
what others are wrong. 

' Again and again I attempt to say what I feel, but 
I cannot. Let me, however, claim not to be the selfish 
being that wishes to bend your affections for his own 
sake only. In whatever way I can best minister to 
your happiness either by assiduity or by absence, it shall 
be done. Do not injure me by withdrawing your friend- 
ship, or punish me for aiming to be more than a friend 
by making me less ; and if you cannot grant me more, 
leave me what I possess, but hear me.' 

Miss Barnard showed this letter to her father, and he, 
instead of helping her to decide, said that love made 
philosophers say many foolish things. Her own youth 
and fear made her hesitate to accept Faraday, and she 
left London with her sister, Mrs. Eeid, for Eamsgate, in 
order to postpone any immediate decision. 

Faraday thus writes in a journal which he made of 
the following week : — 

' July 29zA.— I made up my mind yesterday after- 
noon to run aU risks of a kind reception at Eamsgate, 
and force myself into favourable circumstances if possi- 


Ue.' On the evening of his arrival there he says, 'I was in 
strange spirits, and had very little command over myself, 
though I managed to preserve appearances. I expressed 
strong disappointment at the look of the town and of the 
cHffs, I criticised all around me with a mahcious tone, 
and, in fact, was just getting into a humour which would 
have offended the best-natured person, when I perceived 
that, unwittingly, I had, for the purpose of disguising 
the hopes which had been raised in me so suddenly, 
and might have been considered presumptuous, assumed 
an appearance of general contempt and dishke. The 
moment I perceived the danger of the path on which I 
was running, I stopped, and talked of home and friends.' 

Two days afterwards he says, ' During a walk the 
conversation gradually became to me of the most pen- 
sive cast, and my mind was filled with melancholy 
thoughts. We went into a mill and got the miller to 
show us the machinery ; thus seeking mechanical means 
of changing the subject, which, I fear, weighed heavy on 
both of us. But still our walk continued to have a 
very sombre, grave cast with it ; and when I sat down in 
the chair at home, I wished for a moment that memory 
and sensation would leave me, and that I could pass 
away into nothing. But then pride came to my help, 
and I found that I had at least one independent auxi- 
liary left, who promised never to desert me whilst I had 

A day or two afterwards Faraday and Miss Barnard 
went to Dover. They ascended the shaft, and going to a 
higher part of the hill, ' we came within view of Shake- 
speare's Cliff. The scene from hence was very fine, and 
quite beyond anything I had seen among chalk strata be- 
fore. The cliffs rose like mountains, not with the exactly 


perpendicular sides, the flat top, the uncovered surface of 
the chalk round Thanet, but with steep and overhanging 
declivities, carrying the peaks to an immense height, 
with summits and ridges towering in the air, with sides 
beautifully broken into the rude grandeur and variety 
of mountain forms clothed with a varied and luxuriant 
vegetation, and supporting even trees in the dents and 
crevices with which they abounded. At the foot of 
these cliflfs was the brilliant sparkling ocean, stirred with 
life by a fresh and refreshing wind, and illuminated by 
a sun which made the waters themselves seem inflamed. 
On its surface floated boats, packets, vessels, beating 
the white waves, and making their way against the 
feigned opposition of the waters. To our left lay Dover, 
with its harbour and shipping equally sheltered and 
threatened by the surrounding hills ; and opposite were 
the white cliffs of the French coast, the dim outlines and 
thin shades of which just enabled us to guess that they 
also rose in irregular forms, and were broken into variety 
of surface. 

' The whole was beautiful, or magnificent, as the mind 
received its tone from successive thoughts, and almost 
became sacred when the eye wandered towards the 
arch cliff, for there Shakespeare's spirit might be fancied 
sitting on the very verge, absorbed in the contemplation 
of its grandeur. Then imagination would figure the 
bark, the rock, the buoy, the very lark to whom that 
mortal has given an existence that will end only with 

' I can never forget this day. Though I had ventured 
to plan it, I had had little hope of succeeding. But when 
the day came, from the first waking moment in it to 


the last it was full of interest to me : every circum- 
stance bore so strongly on my hopes and fears that I 
seemed to live with thrice the energy I had ever done 
before. .... 

' But now that the day was drawing to a close, my 
memory recalled the incidents in it, and the happiness 
I had enjoyed ; and then my thoughts saddened and 
fell, from the fear I should never enjoy such happiness 

'I could not master my feelings or prevent them 
from sinking, and I actually at last shamed myself by 
moist eyes. ... It is certainly strange that the sincerity 
and strength of affection should disable me from judging 
correctly and confidently of the heart I wish to gain, 
and adopting the best means to secure it. . . . But 
sincerity takes away all the policies of love. The man 
who can manage his affairs with the care and coolness 
of his usual habits is not much in earnest. Though the 
one who feels is less able than the one who does not to 
take advantage of circumstances as they occur, still 
I would not change the honourable consciousness of 
earnest affection and sincerity for the cool caution and 
procedure of the mind at ease, though the first were 
doomed to failure and the last were blessed with 
success.' (hum ! ! !) [Note evidently added at a later 

The last evening they drove to Manston. ' I could 
not have imagined a ride so pleasant as the one of this 
evening. . . . The time of day, the scenery we passed 
through, and the places we visited, were all calm and 
composed, and heightened the feelings of tranquil en- 
joyment and perfect confidence which floated romad 



1820. our hearts. . . . Not a moment's alloy of this evening's 
jEt. 28. happiness occurred : everything was dehghtful to the 

last instant of my stay with my companion, because she 

was so.' 

On the 7th of August he returned to London, and 
was at Paternoster Kow as soon as possible, and pleased 
them by letters and accounts from Eamsgate, and then 
endeavoured to get into the usual routine of hfe and 
business again. . 

On the 8th of August he writes to Miss Barnard : — 
' Since the week I have passed with you, every 
moment offers me fresh proof of the power you have 
over me. I could not at one time have thought it 
possible that I, that any man, could have been under 
the dominion of feelings so undivided and so intense ; 
now I think that no other man can have felt or feel as 
I do. 

' If your fears return, tell me, that I may search 
out antidotes, and doubt not that I shall find them. 
Eead or alter my letters ; do anything you please to 
drive them away. Fly to Mrs. Eeid tbr help, and then 
thank her from me for it. I shall never indeed, as it 
is, be able to repay her kindness, but I will try to 
acknowledge it in attentions and affection to you her 

November 29th, he writes : — ' Is it a proof that the 
heart is more true because the mouth more frequently 
declares it? Is it always found that the most ex- 
aggerated and hyperbolical are the truest accounts ? or 
is not, on the contrary, the truth always simple and 


always plain ? I should feel myself debased were I to 
endeavour to gain your heart by many and glowing 
descriptions ; I should debase your idea in my mind 
were I for a moment to think you could be affected by 
them. . . . 

' What can I caU myself to convey most perfectly my 
affection and love to you ? Can I, or can truth, say more 
than that for this world I am yours ? 

' M. Faraday.' 

In December he writes :— 

'Royal Institution : Tuesday evening. 

' My dear Sarah, — It is astonishing how much the 
state of the body influences the powers of the mind. I 
have been thinking all the morning of the very dehght- 
ful and interesting letter I would send you this evening, 
and now I am so tired, and yet have so much to do, 
that my thoughts are quite giddy, and run round your 
image without any power of themselves to stop and 
admire it. I want to say a thousand kind and, believe 
me, heartfelt things to you, but am not master of words 
fit for the purpose ; and still, as I ponder and think on 
you, chlorides, trials, oil, Davy, steel, miscellanea, mer- 
cury, and fifty other professional fancies swim before 
and drive me further and further into the quandary of 

' From your affectionate 

' Michael.' 

The four following letters belong to the next year, 
but they are placed here to complete the account of his 




February 12, 1821. 

He writes : — ' Do you know I felt a little angry with 
Edward on first reading your letter, not because he had 
in some measure prevented me from seeing you this 
evening, but because, from what you say, he seems to 
have been a little vexed with you for something arising 
out of your affection for me ; and, as that is a thing 
which above all others that I possess I value most, so 
it is one which, though touched in the slightest manner, 
would soonest put me in a blaze. What ! a feeling so 
kind, so merciful, so good, so disinterested, can it give 
rise to anything wrong ? I shall expect that Edward 
and all others will take it for granted, even against 
their own reasoning, that whatever that feeling suggests 
to you will be right and proper. I must have respect 
paid to it greater than is paid to myself. All who 
play with or neglect it, venture that play or disrespect 
to me on a point upon which, least of aU others, I am 
at all tractable 

' May every blessing attend you, and, above all, that 
of a happy mind. 

' From your devoted 

' M. Faraday.' 

Later he writes : — 


' I tied up the enclosed key with my books last 
night, and make haste to return it lest its absence 
should occasion confusion. If it has, it wiU perhaps 
remind you of the disorder I must be in here also 


for the want of a key — I mean the one to my heart. 
However, I know where my key is, and hope soon to 
have it here, and then the Institution will be all right 
again. Let no one oppose my gaining possession of it 
when unavoidable obstacles are removed. 

' Ever, my dear girl, one who is perfectly yours, 

' M. Fakaday.' 

March 11, 1821, Sir K Davy wrote:— 'Dear Mr. 
Faraday, I have spoken to Lord Spencer, and I am in 
hopes that your wishes may be gratified ; but do not 
mention the subject till I see you.' This wish was 
probably to bring his wife to the Institution. In May 
he was appointed superintendent of the house and 

All obstacles were removed, and they were married 
on June 12. Faraday, desiring that the day should 
be considered 'just like any other day,' offended some 
of his near relations by not asking them to his wedding. 

In a letter to Mrs. Eeid, previous to the marriage, 
he says, ' There will be no bustle, no noise, no hurry 
occasioned even in one day's proceeding. In externals, 
that day will pass like all others, for it is in the heart 
that we expect and look for pleasure.' 

Twenty-eight years after, in the notes of his own life, 
he wrote : — ' On June 12, 1821, he married — an event 
which more than any other contributed to his earthly 
happiness and healthful state of mind. The union has 
continued for twenty-eight years, and has nowise 
changed, except in the depth and strength of its 

Many more letters were written to Miss Barnard 
during the time of his engagement, but enough are here 



given to show what his character was; and this view 
of him must be brought to a close by the following 
letter to the unmarried sister of Miss Barnard. 


' Royal Institution : May 5, 1821. 

' My dear Jane, — I know of no circumstance in my 
life that has contributed, or promises to contribute, so 
much to my happiness as my acquaintance at your 
house. In addition to the pleasures that you know of 
which have become mine, there are others which it has 
produced that none but myself can feel or understand. 
Among those which are evident is the possession of 
your kind good-wiU and sisterly affection, for though I 
may flatter myself that it is greater than it really is, 
yet I hope and believe you will not refuse it me 
entirely in return for mine. Tour sister has managed 
to open my heart, and set the springs of my affection 
flowing, when I supposed there had been no source for 
them ; and I shall not be happy unless they embrace 
and receive a welcome from aU that love her. I 
want to be truly one of your family, and not the 
separator of Sarah from it. Eeceive, therefore, this 
httle gift from me as from a brother, and in receiving 
it let it be as a sister. The pleasure which I shall 
feel on its acceptance will be greater than any it can 
cause you, and wiU be stiU increased the more readily 
it is received. So that you observe, I shall every way 
be stUl your obhged, and let me add by anticipation 

' Tour affectionate brother, 
' M. Faraday. 

' Miss Jane Barnard, with a gift of a work-box.' 



'Northampton: July 18, 1831. 

' My dear Faraday, — You will find, by my troubling 
you immediately, that I do not consider your kind 
offer of doing anything for me in my absence merely 

■ ••»•• 

' I hope you will continue quite well, and do much 
during the summer ; and I wish you in your new state 
all that happiness which I am sure you deserve. 

' I am, my dear Mr. Faraday, your sincere friend, 

' H. Davy.' 

In 1820 the progress of his knowledge in science 
makes itself evident in the papers he published, and in 
the letters which he wrote. His first paper was read to 
the Eoyal Society on two new compounds of chlorine 
and carbon, and on a new compound of iodine, carbon, 
and hydrogen ; and with Mr. Stodart, the surgical instru- 
ment maker, he published, in the ' Quarterly Journal of 
Science,' experiments on the alloys of steel, made with 
a view to its improvement. 

A good account of this work is given in his letters 
to M. de la Eive. His second letter is an abstract of 
the paper that was published on steel. In it he tells 
of the artificial formation of Indian steel or wootz ; of 
the alloys of steel with rhodium, silver, platinum, 
nickel, &c. 

Green, Picksley & Co., in Sheffield, for a time used 
the alloy of steel and silver for fenders, &c., and the 
alloys of steel and rhodium, iridium and silver, they 


made into razors : but this long and difficult piece of 
work proved of no lasting use. 

In the eighth and ninth volumes of the ' Quarterly 
Journal ' he had five papers — one of these was on the 
decomposition of chloride of silver by hydrogen, and 
another on a description of a new apparatus for the 
combustion of the diamond. 

In his commonplace-book there is a plan of ' Lessons 
in Chemistry,' ' Processes for Manipulation.' This was 
the germ of the book which he afterwards wrote on 
chemical manipulation, and probably it had its origin 
in the lessons he gave to his laboratory pupil. Another 
entry in his commonplace-book is on 'Lecture Sub- 
jects:' 1. Application of statics to chemistry. 2. Ap- 
proximation of mechanical and chemical philosophy. 
3. Application of mathematics to actual service and 
use in the arts. 4. Series of mechanical arts, tan- 
ing, &c. 

He wrote from the Eoyal Institution his second 
letter to M. de la Eive, Professor of Chemistry, Geneva. 

' April 20, 1820. 

' Dear Sir, — ^I never in my life felt such difficulty in 
answering a letter as I do at this moment your veiy 
kind one of last year. I was dehghted, on receiving it, 
to find that you had honoured me with any of your 
thoughts, and that you would permit me to correspond 
with you by letter. But I fear that my intention of 
meriting that honour has akeady made me unworthy 
of it, for whilst waiting continually for any scientific 
news that might arrive to send you, I have delayed 
my answer so long as almost to forfeit the right of 
permission to send one at all. I hope you will attribute 


my tardiness to its right motive, difBdence of my wor- 
thiness to write to you, and that it will not injure me 
in your estimation. I will promise, if you still grant 
me the liberty of correspondence, never to err so again. 

' I am the more ashamed of my neglect because it 
is a neglect of gratitude as well as of respect. I am 
deeply indebted to you for your kind expressions 
respecting my paper on the sonorous tubes, and its 
value is very much increased with me by your praise. 
I regret, however, on the same subject, you should 
imagine that I thought but little of your experiment 
with mercury. I made it immediately, and was very 
much surprised by it, and I only refrained from noticing 
it because I was afraid of myself, and thought I should 
apply it wrongly, and thus intrude on your subject 
without any right or reason. Indeed, I had hopes 
that you would take up the subject again, and after 
reviewing the various sonorous phenomena of different 
kinds, as produced in different ways, would undertake 
what I had not ventured to do ; namely, to draw 
general conclusions, and develop the laws to which 
they (the phenomena) were obedient. 

' You have honoured me by many questions, and no 
regret can be greater than mine that I have suffered 
time to answer them rather than myself. In every line 
of your kind letter I find cause to reproach myself for 
delay. The next I will answer more readily, and the 
fear will be that I shall trouble you too often rather 
than too seldom. 

' You honour me by asking for scientific news, and 
for any little information of my own. I am sorry that 
both sources are very barren at present, but / do hope 
that both will improve. Mr. Stodart and myself have 

VOL. I. u 



, ^^^^' . lately been engaged in a long series of experiments and 
vEt. 28. trials on steel, witli tlie hope of improving it, and I 
think we shall in some degree succeed. We are still 
very much engaged on the subject ; but if you will give 
me leave, I will, when the experiments are more complete, 
which I expect will be shortly, give you a few notes on 
them. I succeeded by accident, a few weeks ago, in 
making artificial plumbago, but not in useful masses. I 
had heated iron with charcoal dust two or three times 
over, and in that way got a dark grey, very crystalline, 
carbonate of iron, of, I believe, a definite composition ; 
but the outside of the button, which had been long in 
close contact with the charcoal, was converted into excel- 
lent plumbago. Since then I have observed among the 
casters of iron, that when they cast on a facing of char- 
coal dust, as is the case in fine work, that the surface 
of the casting is frequently covered with a thin film of 
plumbago, evidently formed in the same way as in the 
above experiment. 

' We have lately had some important trials for oil in 
this metropolis, in which I, with others, have been 
engaged. They have given occasion for many experi- 
ments on oil, and the discovery of some new and 
curious results. One of the trials only is finished, and 
there are four or five more to come. As soon as I 
can get time, it is my intention to trace more closely 
what takes place in oil by heat ; and I hope to bribe 
you to continue to me the honour and pleasure of your 
correspondence, by saying, that if anything important 
turns up, I will make it tie matter of a letter. 

' I am, my dear Sir, with the highest respect, jom 
obliged and humble 

' M. Fakaday. 


He sends in his third letter to Professor de la Eive an 1820. 
abstract of his paper on steel : — -i^i. 28. 

' Royal Institution : June 26, 1820. 

' My dear Sir, — Not long since I troubled you with 
a letter in which I said I would shortly send you an 
account of some experiments on steel, made by Mr. 
Stodart and myself. A paper will appear in the 
next number of our Journal, which will contain all we 
have as yet ascertained on the subject ; and as the 
results seem to me to be interesting, I hope you will 
not be sorry that I keep my promise by mentioning 
the principal of them to you. In the small way in 
which only we have as yet worked they are good, and 
I hope that no failure will occur when the processes 
are transferred to the manufactory. 

' It is possible you may have observed an analysis of 
wootz, or the Indian steel, published in one of our 
Journals some time since. I could at that time find 
nothing in the steel, besides the iron and carbon, but a 
small portion of the earths, or, as I presume, their 
metallic bases. On the strength of this analysis, we 
endeavoured to demonstrate the particular nature of 
wootz synthetically by combining steel with these me- 
tallic bases, and we succeeded in getting alloys which 
when worked were declared by Mr. Stodart to be 
equal in all qualities to the best Bombay wootz. This 
corroboration of the nature of wootz received still 
stronger confirmation from a property possessed by the 
alloy in common with wootz ; namely, their power of 
yielding damasked surfaces by the action of acids. When 
wootz is fused and forged it still retains so much of the 
crystalline structure as to exhibit, when acted on by very 

u 2 



^^^Q- . weak sulphuric acid, for some time a beautiful damasked 
-St. 28. surface. This we have never yet seen produced by 
pure steel, but it is produced in our imitation of wootz, 
or alloys of steel with the metal of alumine. 

' I must not forget to tell you how we formed our 
alloys. Many attempts failed : the following method 
succeeds : — Fuse iron in small pieces with charcoal 
powder. If the button produced is malleable break it 
up, and re-fuse it with more charcoal. In this way a 
carburet of iron will be formed which has its place 
between steel and plumbago. It is fusible, when broken 
has a dark grey colour, and is very highly crystalline. 
It is so brittle that small pieces of it may be rubbed to 
powder in a mortar. Some of this powdered carburet 
was then mixed with pure alumine, and the whole 
strongly heated. A portion of the alumine was reduced 
by the carbon of the carburet, and a compound of iron, 
aluminum, and carbon was obtained. Then English 
cast steel being mixed with about 10 per cent, of this 
alloy, the whole was fused, and our artificial wootz 

' I presume that the properties of wootz are so well 
known to you, that I need not stop to say what are the 
supposed improvenients in steel when it is converted 
into wootz. 

' Whilst making the carburet above mentioned, we 
also succeeded in forming plumbago ; but I am afraid 
this artificial production of it will not be very useful in 
its application. If iron be heated highly, and long enough, 
in contact with charcoal, plumbago is always formed. I 
have some buttons of metal here, weighing two or three 
ounces, that appear to be solid plumbago. The appear- 
ance, however, is deceitful, for it is only on the surface, 


and to the depth perhaps of ^th of an inch, that 
the plumbago has been formed. The internal part is 
composed of the crystalline carburet before mentioned. 
What is plumbago is very good, and marks excellently 
well ; and though we have never yet been able to fuse 
powdered plumbago into a mass, yet I think, if it were 
required to form it in a compact state to work up into 
pencils, it might be done by imbedding plates of iron 
about aV^ *^^ ^"- ^^<^^ thick in charcoal, and heating in- 
tensely for a long time. This we have not yet had 
time to try, but intend to do so. 

' You will readily suppose that, during nearly two 
years that we have been at work on this subject, a great 
deal of useless matter, except as furnishing experience, 
has accumulated. All this you will rather wish away, 
so that I shall pass over unimportant alloys, to write of 
those which promise good results. 

' Perhaps the very best alloy we yet have made is 
that with rhodium. Dr. WoUaston furnished us with 
the metal, so that you will have no doubts of its purity 
and identity. One-and-a-half per cent, of it was added 
to steel, and the button worked. It was very malleable, 
but much harder than common steel, and made excel- 
lent instruments. In tempering the instruments they 
require to be heated full 70° F. higher than is necessary 
for the best cast steel, and from this we hope it will 
possess greater degrees of hardness and toughness. 
Eazors made from the alloy cut admirably. 

' ISText to the alloy of rhodium comes that of silver, 
about which there are many curious circumstances. 
Silver refuses to combine with steel except in very small 
proportions, and this want of affinity is much greater 
when the metals are cold than when hot. If, for instance, 


a hundred parts of steel and one of silver be fused to- 
gether, cooled, hammered, &c. &c.,and then laid in weak 
sulphuric acid for ten or twelve hours, its structure will 
be developed, and it will be found to be a congeries of 
fibres of steel and silver, the one distinct from the 
other, but inthnately mixed in every part. Now, the 
perfect dispersion of the silver throughout all parts 
proves that it has been taken up by the steel whilst in 
fusion ; but its separate state of existence shows that it 
has been rejected from the alloy as it solidified. Indeed, 
this refusal of the silver by the steel as it cools is so 
remarkable, that if the hot alloy be observed, globules 
of silver may be seen extruded from the surface as the 
temperature falls. 

' But, however, we went on diminishing the quantity 
of silver as long as its separate existence could be ob- 
served in the alloys ; and when we arrived to a g-5-yth 
part we found that the whole remained in combination 
with the steel. This alloy was excellent, all the cutting 
instruments made of it were of the best quality, and 
the metal worked without break or flaw, and with re- 
markable toughness and malleability under the hammer. 
The alloy of steel and platinum is not so marked by an 
acquired superiority as the two I have already men- 
tioned, and yet platinum in quantities from one to 
three per cent, does seem to be of advantage to steel : 
but we are now continuing this subject. The powerful 
afiinity with, which platinum combines with the metals 
generally, meets with no exception when tried with 
iron or steel. They unite in all proportions we have 
tried, from 1 platinum to 100 steel, up to 90 platinum 
to 20 steel. We expect a good deal from some of 
these higher compounds. 


' I think the affinities of platinum and silver for steel 
are worth comparing together, though they stand almost 
together in an electrical arrangement of the metals, 
and both of them very far from iron or steel : still 
they do not exhibit attractions for steel at all com- 
parable. Platinum will combine in any proportion^ 
apparently, with steel or iron, and at temperatures so 
low that the two metals may be welded together at heats 
barely sufficient to weld iron ; whereas it is with diffi- 
culty that a -g-g-oth part of silver is made in any way to 
combine with steel. 

' I hope, my dear Sir, I have not tired you yet, for 
I am now going to begin writing across ; but I will 
promise not to detain you very much longer, either by 
excuses or details. 

' We have been induced by the popular idea that 
meteoric iron would not rust to try the effect of 
nickel on steel and iron. We made alloys of iron and 
nickel, varying the latter metal from three to ten per 
cent., and we thought we found that they were not quite 
so oxidable as iron alone when exposed with it in green- 
houses and in our laboratory. But nickel alloyed with 
steel gave us no hopes. It appeared more oxidable 
than simple steel, and this fault was not compensated 
for by any other good quality. So for the present we 
have dismissed that metal from our experiments, though 
I expect, as we go on, we shall find many occasions to 
resume thoughts and intentions which we may have 
laid down. 

' Mr. Children has obliged us with an accurate analysis 
of the Siberian meteoric iron, and he finds it to contain 
a very large proportion of nickel. In the mean of 
three experiments it amounts to 8-96 per cent. 


1820. ' You cannot imagine how much we Lave been 
M-r. 28. plagued to get a crucible that will bear the heat we 
require and use in our experiments. Hessian, Cornish, 
pipeclay crucibles all fuse in a few minutes, if put into 
the furnace singly ; and our only resource is to lute two 
or three, one within another, together, so that the whole 
may not fuse before our alloy has had time to form in 
the centre. I have seen Hessian crucibles become so 
soft that the weight of 500 grains of metal has made 
them swell out like a purse, and the upper part has 
fallen together in folds hke a piece of soft linen ; and 
where three have been put together, the two outer 
ones have, in less than half an hour, melted off, and 
flown down into the grate below. 

'From these circumstances you wUl judge of the 
heat we get. And now I will mention to you an effect 
which we obtain, and one we can't obtain, both of 
which a little surprised us. The positive effect is the 
volatihsation of silver. We often have it in our ex- 
periments subhmed into the upper part of the crucible, 
and forming a fine dew on the sides and cover ; so that 
I have no doubt at present on the volatility of silver, 
though I had before. The non- effect is the non-reduc- 
tion of titanium. We have tortured menachanite, pure 
oxide of titanium, the carbonate, &c., in many ways 
in our furnace, but have never yet been able to reduce 
it ^not even in combination with iron ; and I must con- 
fess that now I am very sceptical whether it has ever 
been reduced at aU in the pure state. 

' Now I think I have noticed the most interesting 
points at which we have arrived. Pray pity us that, 
after two years' experiments, we have got no further ; 
but I am sure, if you knew the labour of the experi- 
ments, you would applaud us for our perseverance at 


least. "We are still encouraged to go on, and think ^^^^- . 
that the experience we have gained will shorten our jet.29-30. 
future labours ; and if you find the contents of this 
well-covered sheet of paper interesting, I shall at 
some future time do myself the honour and pleasure 
of sending a continuation of it. 

' If you should think any of our results worth 
notice in the ■■ Bibliotheque,' this letter is free to be 
used in any way you please. Pardon my vanity for sup- 
posing anything I can assist in doing can be worth 
attention ; but you know we live in the good opinion of 
ourselves and of others, and therefore naturally think 
better of our own productions than they deserve. 

' I am, my dear Sir, very truly and sincerely your 
obhged ' M. Faeadat.' 

Before beginning the account of the higher scientific 
education which Faraday went through in 1821 two 
events which had great influence upon his future life 
must be mentioned. He became a Sandemanian, and 
he had to endure a false charge of dishonest conduct. 

A month after his marriage he made his confession 
of sin and profession of faith before the Sandemanian 

His faith in Christ he considered to be the efiect of 
Divine power — the unmerited gift of God to one who 
had nothing in him that could be pleasing in His sight. 
The sense of his own unworthiness, and incapability of 
doing what was good before God, extended even to this 
act of professing the truth. 

When his wife asked him why he had not told her 
what he was about to do, he only replied, ' That is 
between me and my God.' A friend writes ; 



. ^^^\. 'Wlien. he entered the meeting-house he left his 

iET.29-30. science behind, and he would listen to the prayer aad 

exhortation of the most illiterate brother of his sect 

with an attention which showed how he loved the word 

of truth, from whomsoever it came.' 

In his lecture on Mental Education, in 1854, he 
uses the following words : — 

' High as man is placed above the creatures around 
him, there is a higher and far more exalted position 
within his view ; and the ways are infinite in which he 
occupies his thoughts about the fears, or hopes, or ex- 
pectations of a fiiture life. I believe that the truth 
of that future cannot be brought to his knowledge by 
any exertion of his mental powers, however exalted 
they may be ; that it is made known to him by other 
teaching than his own, and is received through simple 
belief of the testimony given. Let no one suppose 
for a moment that the self-education I am about to 
commend, in respect of the things of this hfe, ex- 
tends to any considerations of the hope set before us, 
as if man by reasoning could find out God. It would 
be improper here to enter upon this subject further 
than to claim an absolute distinction between religious 
and ordinary belief. I shall be reproached with the 
weakness of refusing to apply those mental operations 
which I think good in respect of high things to the 
very highest. I am content to bear the reproach ; yet, 
even in earthly matters, I believe that the invisible 
things, of Him from the creation of the world are 
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are 
made, even His eternal power and Godhead ; and I have 
never seen anything incompatible between those things 
of man which are within him, and those higher things 


concerning Ms future, which he cannot know by that IS21. 
spirit.' *T.29-3o. 

The false charge of dishonesty arose thus : — 

Dr. Wollaston was the first person who entertained 
the possibiUty of electro-magnetic rotation. He per- 
ceived that there was a power not directed to or from the 
wire in the voltaic circuit, but acting circumferentially 
round its axis, and upon that he founded his expecta- 
tions of making the wire revolve on itself In April, 
1821, he came with Sir H. Davy to the laboratory of 
the Institution to make an experiment. Faraday was 
not there at the time ; but coming in afterwards, he 
heard the conversation, and this expectation of making 
a wire in the voltaic circuit revolve on its own axis. 
He had before this heard a rumour of a wager that 
Dr. Wollaston would succeed in doing this. 

la July, August, and September, Taraday wrote, at 
the request of the editor, E. Phillips, an historical 
sketch of electro-magnetism for the ' Annals of Philo- 
sophy.' He repeated almost all the experiments he 

This led him, in the beginning of September, to dis- 
cover the rotation of a wire in the voltaic circuit round 
a magnet, and of a magnet round the wire. He could 
not make the wire and the magnet revolve on their 
own axis. ' There was not the slightest indication that 
such was the case.' ' I did not reaHse Dr. WoUaston's 
expectation of the rotation of the electro-magnetic wire 
round its axis ; that fact was discovered by M. Ampere 
at a later date,' he said. 

Before he published his paper on these ' new electro- 
magnetical motions,' he tried to see Dr. Wollaston : his 
object was to ask permission to refer to Dr. WoUaston's 



, ^^'^^j. views and experiments. He was out of town, and ' by 
JEt.29-30, an error of judgment the paper was published without 
any allusion to his opinions and intentions.' Imme- 
diately afterwards, Faraday heard rumours ' affecting 
his honour and honesty.' He at once asked his friend 
Mr. Stodart to procure him an interview with Wol- 


' Royal Institution : Monday, Octoljer 8, 1821. 

' My dear Sir, — I hear every day more and more of 
those sounds, which, though only whispers to me, are I 
suspect spoken aloud amongst scientific men, and which, 
as they in part affect my honour and honesty, I am 
anxious to do away with, or at least to prove erroneous 
in those parts which are dishonourable to me. You 
know perfectly well what distress the very unexpected 
reception of my paper on magnetism in public has 
caused me, and you will not therefore be surprised at 
my anxiety to get out of it, though I give trouble to 
you and other of my friends in doing so. 

' If I understand aright, I am charged, (1) with not 
acknowledging the information I received in assisting 
Sir H. Davy in his experiments on this subject ; (2) 
with conceahng the theory and views of Dr. Wollas- 
ton ; (3) with taking the subject whilst Dr. WoUaston 
was at work on it ; and (4) with dishonourably taking 
Dr. WoUaston's thoughts, and pursuing them, without 
acknowledgment, to the results I have brought out. 

' There is something degrading about the whole of 
these charges ; and were the last of them true, I feel that 
I could not remain on the terms I now stand at with 
you or any scientific person. Nor can I, indeed, bear 


to remain even suspected of such a thing. My love . J^^^^- . 
for scientific reputation is not yet so high as to induce .iET.29-30, 
me to obtain it at the expense of honour, and my 
anxiety to clear avfay this stigma is such that I do not 
hesitate to trouble you even beyond vy^hat you may be 
willing to do for me. 

' I want you, my dear Sir, to procure me an inter- 
view with Dr. WoUaston on his return to town ; and I 
wish for this not only to apologise to him if I have 
unintentionally done him wrong, but to justify myself 
from the suspicions that are wrongly raised against me. 
I feel that Dr. WoUaston is so very far above me that 
even if he does feel himself wronged, he may not per- 
mit himself to think it is of any importance, and may 
therefore think it unnecessary to allow anything to pass 
on the subject. But, in that case, I appeal to Dr. 
WoUaston on my own account. His character and 
talents have raised him to be a patron and protector 
of science. All men look to his opinion and judgment 
with respect. If therefore an impression has gone 
abroad that I have done him an injustice, surely he vnll 
listen to my vindication, if not for his own or even my 
sake, yet for the sake of that situation in which he stands 
in the scientific world. I am but a young man, and 
without a name, and it probably does not matter much 
to science what becomes of me ; but if by any circum- 
stances I am subjected to unjust suspicions, it becomes no 
one more than him who may be said to preside over the 
equity of science, to assist in liberating me from them. 

' With regard to the first charge, I have spoken to 
Sir H. Davy, and I hope and believe he is satisfied. I 
wished to apply to him, but knew not where he was 
till the paper was printed, and immediately I did know 



. ^^^^- I sent him a rougli copy of it. How much I regret the 
.ffiT.29-30. haste which made me print the paper in the last num- 
ber of the Journal, is known to Sir H. Davy and to you. 
' With regard to the second charge, I have to say 
that I should have been proud to have put into my 
paper in a more distinct manner what I knew of Dr. 
WoUaston's theory and experiments ; but that I was 
afraid to attach to it anything which Dr. Wollaston had 
not published or authorised. At the same time I must 
state, that all I knew was what is pubhshed in the 
" Journal of Science," vol. x. p. 363, and that Dr. WoUas- 
ton expected to make a wire revolve on its own axis ; 
but I did not see the apparatus of Dr. Wollaston, or the 
experiment he made at the Eoyal Institution, or any 
made elsewhere. 

' As to the third charge, I had not the slightest 
notion that Dr. Wollaston was at work, or intended 
to work, on the subject. It is now near seven months, 
I beheve, since he was at the Eoyal Institution making 
an experiment, and I did not know that he intended to 
pursue it further. If I had thought so I should never 
have attempted anything on the subject. 

' The fourth charge is not true. I had assisted Sir 
H. Davy in nearly all his experiments, and thus had 
my mind prepared for the subject; but the immediate 
cause of my making the experiments detailed in my 
paper was the writing of the historical sketch of electro- 
magnetism that has appeared in the last two numbers 
of the " Annals of Philosophy." It was in verifying the 
positions that I continually had to make mention of in 
that sketch, that I was led, as described in the com- 
mencement of my paper, to ascertain the revolution of 
the pole round the wire ; and then, and then only, Dr. 


WoUaston's theory came to my mind. I should have 1821. 
been proud and happy here to have mentioned Dr. -iPT.29-30. 
WoUaston's experiment of the rotation of the wire on 
its own axis (the only experiment I had heard of), but 
it did not succeed with me, or Dr. WoUaston's theory 
as- stated in our Journal. But Dr. WoUaston had not 
published or avowed either, and I judged (perhaps 
wrongly) that I had no right in that case to mention it. 

' All I ask is to be liberated from the dishonour 
unjustly attached to me in these charges. I am anxious 
to apologise to Dr. WoUaston, in any way that I can, 
for not having mentioned his theory and experiments, 
if I may be permitted. I need not again urge reasons 
why Dr. WoUaston should hear me, or receive into his 
consideration those circumstances which witness for 
me in this afiair that I have erred innocently. But I 
hope everything through your kindness. Anxiously 
waiting to hear from you, 

' I am, dear Sir, your very obliged and faithful 

' M. Faraday.' 

A few days later Faraday wrote himself directly to 
Dr. WoUaston. 


' October 30, 1821. 

' Sir, — I am urged by strong motives respectfully 
to request your attention for a few moments. The 
latter end of last month I wrote a paper on electro- 
magnetism, which I left in the hands of the printer of 
the " Quarterly Journal," and went into the country. On 
returning home the beginning of this month, I heard 
from two or three quarters that it was considered I 



. ^^^\. liad not behaved honourably in that paper ; and that 
^T.29-30. the wrong I had done was done to you. I imme- 
diately wished and endeavoured to see you, but was 
prevented by the advice of my friends, and am only 
now at liberty to pursue the plan I intended to have 
taken at first. 

' If I have done anyone wrong, it was quite uninten- 
tional, and the charge of behaving dishonourably is not 
true. I am bold enough. Sir, to beg the favour of a 
few minutes' conversation with you on this subject, 
simply for these reasons — that I can clear myself — that 
I owe obligations to you — that I respect you — that 
I am anxious to escape from unfounded impressions 
against me — and if I have done any wrong that I may 
apologise for it. 

' I do not think, Sir, that you would regret allowing 
me this privilege ; for, satisfied in my own mind of 
the simplicity and purity of my motives in writing that 
paper, I feel that I should satisfy you ; and you would 
have the pleasure of freeing me from an embarrassment 
I do not deserve to lay under. Nevertheless, if for any 
reasons you do not consider it necessary to permit it, 
I hope I shall not further have increased any unpleasant 
feeling towards me in your mind. 

' I have very much simphfied and diminished in size 
the rotating apparatus, so as to enclose it in a tube. I 
should be proud if I may be allowed, as a mark of strong 
and sincere respect, to present one for your acceptance. 
I am almost afraid to make this request, not because I 
know of the slightest reason which renders it improper, 
but because of the uncertain and indefinite form of the 
rumours which have come about me. But I trust, Sir, 
that I shall not injure myself with you by adopting the 


simplest and most direct means of clearing up a mis- 1821. 
understanding that has arisen against me ; but that ^T.29-30. 
what I do with sincerity you will receive favourably. 

' I am, Sir, with great respect, your obedient, humble 
servant, ' M. Fabaday.' 


' October 31, or November 1. 
' (Must have been about November 1.) 

' Sir, — You seem to me to labour under some mis- 
apprehension of the strength of my feehngs upon the 
subject to which you allude. 

' As to the opinions which others may have of your 
conduct, that is your concern, not mine ; and if you 
fully acquit yourself of making any incorrect use of 
the suggestions of others, it seems to me that you 
have no occasion to concern yourself much about the 
matter. But if you are desirous of any conversation 
with me, and could with convenience call to-morrow 
morning, between ten o'clock and half-past ten, you 
will be sure to find me. 

' Ever your most obedient 


' I name that hour because I shall have occasion to 
leave home before eleven.' 

Of the result of this interview no record remains, but 
the false charge seemed for a time to have died away. 

Faraday went on vnth his researches, and on Decem- 
ber 21 he succeeded in making a wire, through which 
a current of voltaic electricity was passing, obey the 
magnetic poles of the earth in the way it does the 
poles of the bar-magnet 

VOL. I. X 



. ^^^^- . Br. WoUaston came three or four times to the 

.s:t.29-30, laboratory to see the results. 

Nothing more was heard of the charge until in Maxell 
1823 Sir H. Davy read a paper to the Eoyal Society 
on a new phenomenon of electro-magnetism. At the 
end he said, ' I cannot with propriety conclude without 
mentioning a circumstance in the history of the progress 
of electro-magnetism, which, though well known to 
many Fellows of this Society, has, I believe, never been 
made public ; namely, that we owe to the sagacity of Dr. 
WoUaston the first idea of the possibility of the rotation 
of the electro-magnetic wire round its axis by the ap- 
proach of a magnet ; and I witnessed, early in 1821, 
an unsuccessful experiment which he made to produce 
the effect.' The proceedings of this meeting of the 
Eoyal Society were reported by Mr. Brayley in the 
' Annals of Philosophy.' The report inaccurately^ con- 
fused the rotation of the wire on its own axis with the 
rotation of the wire round the magnet ; and in the last 
five hues the report said, ' Had not an experiment on 
the subject made by Dr. W. in the laboratory of the 
Eoyal Institution, and witnessed by Sir Humphry, failed 
merely through an accident which happened to the 
apparatus, he would have been the discoverer of that 

' Sir Humphry Davy, when he next adverted to the 
subject with Faraday, in the laboratory of the Insti- 
tution, said this " was inaccurate and very unjust," and 
advised Faraday " to draw up a contradiction which 

1 Fifteen years afterwards, Mr. Brayley wrote to Faraday, ' I am im- 
wiUing positively to affii-m the accuracy of my report of the paper in 
the face of Sir H. Davy's immediate denial, but I always had, and have 
still, the strongest- impression that accurate it was.' The paper itself was 


the editor should report the next month." This Faraday 1821. 
did in these words : — ^t.29-30. 

' We endeavoured last month to give a full report of 
the important paper read by Sir H. Davy to the Eoyal 
Society on March 5. We beg our readers, however, 
to cancel the five last lines of that report, which are not 
merely incorrect but untrue ; and, anxious to avoid the 
commission of an act of injustice to a third person, we 
wish to refer them forward to the original paper when 
it shall be published.' 

This was submitted to Sir H. Davy ' as a proper 
correction ; he altered it, and it became what he wished 
it should be, and Faraday agreed to it.' It stands thus 
in the ' Annals of Philosophy ' for May : ' Writing only 
from memory, we have made two errors, one with 
respect to the rotation of mercury, &c., the other in 
the historical paragraph, in the conclusion, which, as we 
have stated it, is unjust to Mr. Faraday, and does not at 
all convey the sense of the author. We wish, therefore, 
to refer our readers forward to the original paper, 
when it shall be published, for the correction of these 

'Thus,' says Faraday afterwards, 'I was unjustly sub- 
jected to some degree of annoyance, and the more so 
because this happened at the very time of the occurrence 
of the condensation of the gases and its consequence, 
and during the time that my name was before the Eoyal 
Society as a candidate for the Fellowship. I do not 
believe that anyone willingly was the cause of this 
state of things, but all seemed confusion, and generally 
to my disadvantage.' 

A month after he had been proposed as Fellow of 



. ^^^^- . the Eoyal Society in 1823, he wrote thus to Mr. War- 
Mt.29-30. burton, the most intimate friend of Dr. WoUaston. 


' Eoyal Institution : May 30, 1823. 

' Sir, — I have been anxiously waiting the opportunity 
you promised me of a conversation with you, and from 
late circumstances am now still more desirous of it 
than at the time when I saw you in the committee. 
I am sure you will not regret the opportunity you will 
afford for an explanation, for I do not believe there is 
anything you would ask, after you have communicated 
with me, that I should not be glad to do. I am 
satisfied that many of the feelings you entertain on 
the subject in question would be materially altered by 
granting my request ; at the same time, as I know more 
of your opinions by report than otherwise, I am perhaps 
not well aware of them. It was only lately that I 
knew you had any feehng at all on the subject. You 
would probably find yourself engaged in doing jus- 
tice to one who cannot help but feel that he has 
been injured, though he trusts unintentionally. I feel 
satisfied you are not in possession of all the circum- 
stances of the case, but I am also sure you will not wish 
willingly to remain ignorant of them. Excuse my 
earnestness and freedom on this subject, and consider 
for a moment how much I am interested in it. 

' I would have called upon you, but I was not aware 
of the hour at which it would be convenient and 
agreeable to you to see me, and I have very little time 
to spare in the day from my duties here ; but if you 


will appoint a time, I will call on you, or do anything iJ^^l. 
you direct to obtain a meeting. ^T.29-30. 

' I am, Sir, your obedient, humble servant, 

' M. Faeaday.' 

Faraday made the following notes at the end of his 
copy of this letter to Warburton. 

1823. In relation to Davy's opposition to my election 
at the Eoyal Society. 

Sir H. Davy angry, May 30. 

Phillip's report through Mr. Children, June 5. 

Mr. Warburton called first time, June 5 (evening). 

I called on Dr. WoUaston, and he not in town, June 9. 

I called on Dr. Wollaston, and saw him, June 14. 

I called at Sir H. Davy's, and he called on me, June 

To counteract the opposition which the circulation 
of the false. charge was causing to him he published an 
historical statement respecting electro-magnetic rotation. 
Of this he writes, ' I think it worth while saying, that 
before this historical statement was produced, it was 
shown to Dr. Wollaston, altered by him in certain 
places with a pencil, and then declared by him to be 
perfectly satisfactory. He gave me leave to tell all 
persons that he was satisfied with it, and thought it 
convincing ; and the manuscript corrected by him is 
bound up in the quarto volume of my papers from the 
" Philosophical Transactions.'" This manuscript is now 
in the hbrary of the Eoyal Institution. 

The most important alteration is where Faraday 
alludes to the state of his knowledge of Dr. Wollaston 's 
ideas, before he made his discovery, and after he had 



. ^^J^-_. heard of Dr. Wollaston's expectations : ' I througliout 
yET.29-30. the sketch describe attractive and repulsive powers on 
each side of the wire ; but what I thought to be attrac- 
tion and repulsion in August 1821, Dr. WoUaston long 
before perceived to be an impulse in one direction only, 
and upon that knowledge founded his expectations.' This 
Dr. Wollaston altered to ' perceived to be a power not 
directed to or from the wire, but acting circumferentially 
round its axis ; and upon that knowledge founded his 
expectations.' This historical statement was pubhshed 
July 1, 1823, and in it he says: — 

' The paper which I first pubhshed was written, and 
the experiments all made, in the beginning of Sep- 
tember 1821 : it was published on the 1st of October. 
A second paper was published in the same volume on 
the last day of the same year. I have been asked why 
in those papers I made no reference to Dr. WoUas- 
ton's opinions and intentions, inasmuch as I always ac- 
knowledged the relation between them and my own 
experiments. To this I answer, that upon obtaining 
the results described in the first paper, and which I 
showed very readily to all my friends, I went to Dr. 
Wollaston's house to communicate them also to him, 
and to ask permission to refer to his views and ex- 
periments. Dr. Wollaston was not in town, nor did he 
return whilst I remained in town ; and as I did not 
think that I had any right to refer to views not pub- 
lished, and, as far as I knew, not pursued, my paper 
was printed, and appeared without that reference, whilst 
I remained in the country. I have regretted ever since 
I did not delay the pubUcation, that I might have 
shown it first to Dr. Wollaston. 



' Pursuing this subject (at the end of the year), .1821. ^ 
I obtained some other results which seemed to me .ffiT,29-30. 
worthy of being known. Previous to their arrange- 
ment in the form in which they appear, I waited on 
Dr. Wollaston, who was so kind as to honour me with 
his presence two or three times, and witness the results. 
My object was then to ask his permission to refer to 
his views and experiments in the paper which I should 
immediately publish, in correction of the error of 
judgment in not having done so before. The im- 
pression that has remained on my mind ever since 
(one-and-twenty months), and which I have constantly 
expressed to everyone when talking on the subject, 
is that he wished me not to do so. Dr. Wollaston 
has lately told me that he cannot recollect the words 
he used at the time ; that as regarded himself his 
feehngs were it should not be done, as regarded me 
that it should, but that he did not tell me so. I can 
only say that my memory at this time holds most 
tenaciously the following words, " I would rather you 
should not;" but I must of course have been mistaken. 
However, that is the only cause why the above state- 
ment was not made in December 1821.' 

On July 8 Mr. Warburton wrote to him. 


' Sir, — I have read the article in the " Eoyal Insti- 
tution Journal " (vol. xv. p. 288) on electro-magnetic 
rotation ; and without meaning to convey to you that I 
approve of it unreservedly, I beg to say that, upon the 



whole, it satisfies me, as I think it will Dr.Wollaston's 
other friends. 

' Having everywhere admitted and maintained that 
on the score of scientific merit you were entitled to a 
place in the Eoyal Society, I never cared to prevent 
your election, nor should I have taken any pains to 
form a party in private to oppose you. What I should 
have done would have been to take the opportunity 
which the proposing to ballot for you would have 
afforded me to make remarks in public on that part of 
your conduct to which I objected. Of this 1 made no 
secret, having intimated my intention to some of those 
from whom I knew you would hear of it, and to the 
President himself. 

' When I meet with any of those in whose presence 
such conversation may have passed, I shall state that 
my objections to you as a Fellow are and ought to 
be withdrawn, and that I now wish to forward your 

' I am, Sir, your faithful servant, 

' Henet Warbueton.' 

Faraday was at this time out of town : on his return, 
at the end of August, he wrote to Mr. Warburton. 


'Royal Institution: August 29, 1823. 

' Sir, — I beg to apologise for not having sooner ac- 
knowledged the receipt of your letter: my absence 
from town will, I hope, plead my excuse. 

' I thank you sincerely for your kindness in letting 
me know your opinion of the statement. Though your 
approbation of it is not unreserved, yet it very far 



surpasses what I expected ; and I rejoice that you do . ^^^^- , 
not now think me destitute of those moral feehngs which -^T.29-30. 
you remarked to me were necessary in a Fellow of the 
Eoyal Society. 

' Conscious of my own feehngs and the rectitude of 
my intentions, I never hesitated in asserting my claims 
or in pursuing that line of conduct which appeared to 
me to be right. I wrote the statement under this 
influence, without any regard to the probable result, 
and I am glad that a step, which I supposed would 
rather tend to aggravate feehngs against me, has, on 
the contrary, been the means of satisfying the minds of 
many, and of making them my friends. 

' Two months ago I had made up my mind to be 
rejected by the Eoyal Society as a Fellow, notwith- 
standing the knowledge I had that many would do rae 
justice ; and, in the then state of my mind, rejection or 
reception would have been equally indifferent to me. 
Now that I have experienced so fully the kindness and 
liberality of Dr. WoUaston, which has been constant 
throughout the whole of this affair, and that I find an 
expression of good-will strong and general towards 
me, I am delighted by the hope I have of being 
honoured by Fellowship with the Society ; and I thank 
you sincerely for your promise of support in my elec- 
tion, because I know you would not give it unless you 
sincerely thought me a fit person to be admitted. 

' I am, Sir, your obliged and obedient servant, 

' M. Faraday.' 

The almost unanimous election of Faraday into the 
Eoyal Society shows that, in the judgment of those who 
were best qualified to form an opinion, Faraday had 


1821. for two years been subject to a false charge. From 
MT.2d-3o. this Davy and Wollaston ought to have been his fore- 
most defenders. 

In 1821, the knowledge he got and the work he did 
is to be seen chiefly in the papers he published, and in 
the letters which he wrote to Professor de la Eive. 


At the end of the previous year he sent to the Eoyal 
Society a paper on two new compounds of chlorine and 
carbon; and on a new substance containing iodine, 
carbon, and hydrogen. And in July this year he and 
Phillips sent in another paper, on a new compound of 
chlorine and carbon. Both papers form part of the 
' Philosophical Transactions ' for this year. 

In the ' Quarterly Journal ' he had seven papers. 
The most important were on the vapour of mercury at 
common temperatures ; on the dissection of crystals ; 
and on a singular property of boracic acid as regards 
its action on turmeric paper. 


Very few letters written in 1821 remain. There is 
some interest in reading the two last which he wrote to 
his friend Abbott : one shows his constant occupation ; 
the other his gentle sympathy ; and it brings to a final 
close a correspondence which is invaluable as a record 
of the nature and self-education of Michael Faraday. 



'September 12, 1821. 

' My dear Sir, — I was extremely gratified the other 
day on receiving your very kind letter, and also your 
beautiful little apparatus. I owe you many thanks for 
them, and have been using the latter, I hope you wiU 
say, with some effect. I have not seen M. Prevost, so 
have not heard any news of your delightful place, ex- 
cept what your letter contains ; but I trust all is well. 

' I am much flattered and encouraged to go on by 
your good opinion of what little things I have been 
able to do in science, and especially as regards the 
chlorides of carbon. 

' Sir H. Davy's paper is not yet printed ; and I hardly 
know what it is, for Sir H. left town for the country 
almost before his ideas were put into order on the sub- 
ject on which he was working. 

'You partly reproach us here with not sufficiently 
esteeming Ampere's experiments on electro-magnetism. 
Allow me to extenuate your opinion a little on this 
point. With regard to the experiments, I hope and 
trust that due weight is allowed to them ; but these 
you kiiow are few, and theory makes up the great part 
of what M. Ampere has published, and theory in a great 
many points unsupported by experiments when they 
ought to have been adduced. At the same time, 
M. Ampere's experiments are excellent, and his theory 
ingenious ; and, for myself, I had thought very little 
about it before your letter came, simply because, being 
naturally sceptical on philosophical theories, I thought 
there was a great want of experimental evidence. Since 


1821. then, however, I have engaged on the subject, and have 
^T.29-30. a paper in our " Institution Journal," which will appear 
in a week or two, and that will, as it contains experi- 
ment, be immediately appHed by M. Ampere in support 
of his theory, much more decidedly than it is by myself. 
I intend to enclose a copy of it to you with the other, 
and only want the means of sending it. 

' I find all the usual attractions and repulsions of the 
magnetic needle by the conjunctive wire are deceptions, 
the motions being not attractions or repulsions, nor the 
result of any attractive or repulsive forces, but the re- 
sult of a force in the wire, which, instead of bringing 
the pole of the needle nearer to or further from the 
wire, endeavours to make it move round it in a never- 
ending circle and motion whilst the battery remains in 
action. I have succeeded not only in showing the 
existence of this motion theoretically, but experiment- 
ally, and have been able to make the wire revolve round 
a magnetic pole, or a magnetic pole round the wire, at 
pleasure. The law of revolution, and to which all the 
other motions of the needle and wire are reducible, is 
simple and beautiful. 

' Conceive a portion of connecting wire north and 
south, the north end being attached to the positive pole 
of a battery, the south to the negative. A north mag- 
netic pole would tlien pass round it continually in the 
apparent direction of the sun, from east to west above, 
and from west to east below. Eeverse the connections 
with the battery, and the motion of the pole is re- 
versed ; or if the south pole be made to revolve, the 
motions will be in the opposite directions, as with the 
north pole. 

' If the wire be made to revolve round the pole, the 


motions are according to those mentioned. In the ap- 1^21. 
paiutus I used there were but two plates, and the direc- ^T.29-30. 
tions of the motions were of course the reverse of 
those with a battery of several pairs of plates, and 
which are given above. Now I have been able, ex- 
perimentally, to trace this motion into its various forms 
as exhibited by Ampere's helices, &c., and in all cases 
to show that the attractions and repulsions are only 
appearances due to this circulation of the pole, to show 
that dissimilar poles repel as well as attract, and that 
similar poles attract as well as repel, and to make, I 
think, the analogy between the helix and common bar- 
magnet far stronger than before. But yet I am by no 
means decided that there are currents of electricity in 
the common magnet. I have no doubt that electricity 
puts the circles of the helix into the same state as those 
circles are in that may be conceived in the bar magnet, 
but I am not certain that this state is directly dependent 
on the electricity, or that it cannot be produced by 
other agencies ; and therefore, until the presence of 
electrical currents be proved in the magnet by other 
than magnetical effects, I shall remain in doubt about 
Ampere's theory. 

' Wishing you all health and happiness, and waiting 
for news from you, 

' I am, my dear Sir, your very obliged and grateful 

'M. Faraday.' 




' Royal Institution : NoTember 16, 1821. 

' Dear Sir, — Herewith you will receive copies of my 
papers which I mentioned in a letter I sent to you, per 
post, a month or two ago, and which I hope you will 
do me the favour to accept. I also send in this packet 
a little apparatus I have made to illustrate the rotatory 
motion on a small scale. The rod below is soft iron, 
and consequently can have its inner end made north or 
south at pleasure by contact of the external end with 
one of the poles of a magnet. To make the apparatus 
act, it is to be held upright with the iron pin down- 
wards ; the north or south pole of a magnet to be placed 
in contact with the external end of the iron pin and 
then the wires of a voltaic combination connected, one 
with the upper platinum wire, the other with the lower 
pin or magnet: the wire within will then rotate, if the 
apparatus is in order, in which state I hope it will reach 
you. Good contacts are required in these experiments. 

' Now let me know what is doing with you, for I long 
for news from your southern parts. An Italian gentle- 
man, who is on his return home, will give this packet 
to you ; at least, I hope so, for I want it to reach you 
safe, i am excessively busy, too much so at present 
to try my hand at anything more, or even to continue 
this letter many hues further : but I hope soon to have 
a little news on steel to send you. 

' I am, my dear Sir, as ever, your very obliged and 
faithful ' M. Faeaday. 

' A single pair of plates two or three inches square, 
or four inches square, is quite large enough for the ap- 



' Eoyal Institution : Feb. 1, 1821. 

'Dear A , I read your letter informing us of 

Eobert's safe arrival out, and was very glad to find all 
was well. I liope all will continue so, and that when 
he comes home he will be every way pleased with his 

' I should have written to you before, but have not 
yet been able to get a spare evening to appoint for our 
meeting. However, I hope that Monday week will be 
free for me, and will try to keep it so, but I wiU write 
you again before this. 

' I am, dear A., yours very truly, 

'M. Faeaday.' 


'Royal Institution, May 15, 1821. 

'My dear A , The receipt of your letter has 

distressed and grieved me sadly, and I. feel how much 
you must be overwhelmed by this sudden wave of 
affliction. I was looking forward to a cheerful joyous 
return, with health and strength invigorated by the 
voyage. I would fain hope there is some mistake in 
the account you have received, but the tone of your 
letter prevents me, when I refer to it. 

' These things come over u.s so suddenly, and with 
such overpowering force, that no reasoning or philo- 
sophy can bear up against them, and the only duty left 
that it is possible to exert is resignation. You must bear 
up, my dear A., and comfort and encourage your father 
and sister, though you do your own feelings violence 



_J^^ in the effort. Tell them, but not so as to reawaken 
^T. 30. sorrows that may be lulled for a moment, how much I 

feel on this occasion. And believe me, dear A., your 

distressed friend, 

' M. Faeaday.' 

In 1822 the progress of Faraday's higher education is 
seen, (1) in his published papers; (2) in a new note- 
book, which he called ' Chemical Notes, Hints, Sugges- 
tions, and Objects of Pursuit ; ' and (3) in his laboratory 

The contrast between the calm of 1822 and the 
storm of that which was past and of that which was to 
come is very remarkable. 

In July he took his wife and her mother to Eamsgate, 
and left them there whilst he went for a fortnight with 
his friend Eichard Philhps to Mr. Vivian's, near Swansea, 
to try a new process in the copper-works. 

During his absence he wrote three letters to Mrs. 
Faraday, full of deep feeling and gentle energy. These 
are the only records (4) that remain for this year. 

A paper on the alloys of steel, by Stodart and Fara- 
day, was read to the Eoyal Society, and printed in the 
' Transactions.' In the ' Quarterly Journal of Science ' 
he had six papers, on some new electro-magnetical 
motions, and on the theory of magnetism ; description 
of an electro-magnetical apparatus for the exhibition 
of rotatory motion, note on new electro-magnetical 
motions ; on the changing of vegetable colours as an 
alkaline property, and on some bodies possessing it,. 


and on the action of salts on turmeric paper ; on hy- 1822. 
driodide of carbon ; on a new compound of iodine and ^t.3o-3i. 


He began a fresh vohime, which he called ' Chemical 
Notes, Hints, Suggestions, and Objects of Pursuit.' To 
it he transferred many of the queries out of his com- 
monplace-book, but he separated his subjects under 
different heads. Probably at some later period he added 
this preface, ' I already owe much to these notes, and 
think such a collection worth the making by every 
scientific man. I am sure none would think the trou- 
ble lost after a year's experience.' When a query got 
its answer, he drew his pen through it, and wrote the 
date of the answer across it. In this book are the 
first germs, in the fewest possible words, of his future 

Por example : — 

' General eflects of compression, either in condensing 
gases or producing solutions, or even giving combina- 
tions at low temperatures.' 

' Convert magnetism into electricity.' 

' Do pith balls diverge by disturbance of electricities 
in consequence of induction or not ? ' 

' State of electricity in the interior and on the sur- 
face of conductors, and on the surface of holes through 

'Light through gold leaf on to zinc or most 
oxidable metals, these being poles — or on magnetic 

' Transparency of metals. Sun's hght through gold 
leaf. Two gold leaves made poles — light passed 
through one to the other.' 

VOL. I. Y 




The notes in the laboratory book are not of import- 
ance. The action of chlorine and nitro-muriatic acid 
on different substances, as wax, naphthaline, alcohol, 
led to no result. 

One remarkable experiment, whick he made on Sep- 
tember 10 this year, must be here mentioned, for it 
bears upon the last experiment he ever made, on Marck 
12, 1862. 

For forty years tke same subject rose again and 
again in kis mind, and no failure, and no success kow- 
ever great, could make kim give up kis searck after tke 
discovery of tke relation of electricity and magnetism 
to ligkt. 

It wiU be seen tkat once, and once only, ke got all tke 
evidence ke wanted of the action of electricity and 
magnetism upon kght ; but in the experiment this year, 
and ever after, with the one great exception, the proof 
was not forthcoming: and he ends his last experiment 
by saying, ' Not the skghtest effect on the polarised or 
unpolarised ray was observed.' 

The note in the laboratory book runs thus: — 
' Polarised a ray of lamp-light by reflection, and en- 
deavoured to ascertain wketker any depolarising action 
(was) exerted on it by water placed between tke poles 
of a voltaic battery in a glass cistern ; one WoUaston's 
trougk used ; the fluids decomposed were pure water, 
weak solution of sulphate of soda, and strong sulphuric 
acid : none of them had any effect on the polarised 
light, either wken out of or in tke voltaic circuit, so 
tkat no particular arrangement of particles could be 
ascertained in tkis way.' 




'Paternoster Row: Sunday evening, July 21, 1822. 

' Anxious as I have been to use the only means of 
communication with you that is left me for the present, 
yet I have delayed writing till this evening, though I 
felt certain you would have been rendered happy by 
a letter from me to-day ; but I had left it doubtful 
whether I should write yesterday, and, when I got 
home, found many reasons for deferring it, though 
altogether they were hardly strong enough to counter- 
balance the single one of giving you pleasure a day 
earlier. But I must not, my dear girl, suffer my love 
to you to run away at all times with the prudential 
reasons which, though small, at various times offer 
themselves ; so I resolved, notwithstanding my fingers 
tingled to write to you, and you, I knew, would be 
anxious for my letter, to delay it a day, as well for 
practice in forbearance as for the convenience. 

'I perceive that if I give way to my thoughts, I 
shall write you a mere love-letter, just as usual, with 
not a particle of news in it : to prevent which I will 
constrain myself to a narrative of what has happened 
since I left you up to the present time, and then indulge 
my affection. . . In the evening I walked up to the In- 
stitution ; had a letter from Mr. Brande, which was as 
well as I expected, and gave me leave to go whenever it 
was necessary for my health's sake : and then returned 

' Yesterday was a day of events — little, but pleasant. 
I went in the morning to the Institution, and in the 





course of the day analysed the water, and sent an 
account of it to Mr. Hatchett. Mr. Fisher I did not 
see. Mr. LaAvrence called in, and behaved with his 
iisual generosity. He had called in the early part of 
the week, and, finding that I should be at the Institu- 
tion on Saturday only, came up, as I have already said, 
and insisted on my accepting two ten-pound bank-notes 
for the information he professed to have obtained from 
me at various times. Is not this handsome .? The 
money, as you know, could not have been at any time 
more acceptable ; and I cannot see any reason, my dear 
love, why you and I should not regard it as another 
proo^ among many, that our trust should without a 
moment's reserve be freely reposed on Him who pro- 
videth all things for His people. Have we not many 
times been reproached, by such mercies as these, for 
our caring after food and raiment and the things of 
this world ? 

'On coming home in the evening, i.e. coming to 
Paternoster Eow home, I learned that Mr. Phillips had 
seen C, and had told her we should not leave London 
until Monday evening. So I shall have to-morrow to 
get things ready in, and I shall have enough to do. I 
fancy we are going to a large mansion and into high 
company, so I must take more clothes. Having the 
20/., I am become bold 

' And now, how do my dear wife and mother do ? 
Are you comfortable ? are you happy ? are the lodgings 
convenient, and ]\Irs. 0. obliging ? Has the place done 
you good ? Is the weather fine ? Tell me all things 
as soon as you can. I think if you write directly you 
get this it will be best, but let it be a long letter. I do 
not know when I wished so much for a lono- letter as 


I do from you now. You will get this on Tuesday, 
and any letter from you to me cannot reach Swansea 
before Thursday or Friday — a sad long time to wait. 
Direct to me, Post Office, Swansea ; or perhaps better, 
to ±ne at — Vivian Esq., Marino, near Swansea, South 

' And now, my dear girl, I must set business aside. 
I am tired of the dull detail of things, and want to 
talk of love to you ; and surely there can be no circum- 
stances under which I can have more right. The theme 
was a cheerful and delightful one before we were 
married, But it is doubly so now. I now can speak, 
not of my own heart only, but of both our hearts. I 
now speak, not with any doubt of the state of your 
thoughts, but with the fullest conviction that they 
answer to my own. All that I can now say warm and 
animated to you, I know that you would say to me 
again. The excess of pleasure which I feel in knowing 
you mine is doubled by the consciousness that you feel 
equal joy in knowing me yours. Oh, my dear Sarah, 
poets may strive to describe and artists to delineate the 
happiness which is felt by two hearts truly and mutu- 
ally loving each other ; but it is beyond their efforts, 
and beyond the thoughts and conceptions of anyone 
who has not felt it. I have felt it and do feel it, but 
neither I nor any other man can describe it ; nor is it 
necessary. We are happy, and our God has blessed 
us with a thousand causes why we should be so. Adieu 
for to-night 

' All here send their love and affections to you both. 
Mine you can estimate perfectly. I constantly feel 
as if my love had been increasing continually up to 
the present moment, and yet could not possibly get 



'^^-^- . stronger : such willing believers are we in the tales told 
2Et. 30. 'by our passion. 

' You shall shortly hear again from your most affec- 
tionate and devoted husband, 

' M. Taeadat.' 


'Marino, near Swansea: July 25, 1822. 

' I have just stolen upstairs into my own room to 
write to you. I intended to have vmtten this morn- 
ing, so that the letter should go by to-night's mail, but 
business at the furnaces detained me till half-past five 
o'clock ; then, as dinner was to take place at six o'clock, 
and there were great persons to be at it, I was obhged to 
haste in my dressing, so as not to detain them. After 
dinner the tedious fashion of remaining at table coiild 
not be broken by me alone ; so at half-past nine, and 
not before, we went into the drawing-room to tea : here 
I was detained half-an-hour, and then stole away to 
converse a little with you.' 

He then describes his journey and occupations at 
the works, and ends : — 

' I forget myself ; I was thinking you were in London. 
When my thoughts are on you, other things are out of 
my mind : but I know you will be rather pleased than 
otherwise with a fault which is the result of the earnest 
anxious affection of your husband. 

' M. Faradat.' 



' Marino : Sunday, July 28, 1822. 

'My dearly beloved Wife, — I have just read your 
letter again, preparatory to my writing to you, that my 
thoughts might be still more elevated and quickened 
than before. I could almost rejoice at my absence 
from you, if it were only that it has produced such an 
earnest and warm mark of aifection from you as that 
letter. Tears of joy and delight fell from my eyes on 
its perusal. I think it was last Sunday evening, about 
this time, that I wrote to you from London ; and I again 
resort to this affectionate conversation with you, to tell 
you what has happened since the letter which I got 
franked from this place to you on Thursday I beheve. 

'You can hardly imagine how rejoiced I was to get 
your letter. You will have found by this time how 
much I expected it, and it came almost to a moment. 
As soon as I entered the breakfast-room Mr. Vivian 
gave it to me. Blessings on you, my girl ; and thanks, 
a thousand thanks to you for it. 

'We have been working very hard here at the copper 
works, and with some success. Our days have gone 
on just as before. A walk before breakfast ; then 
breakfast ; then to the works till four or five o'clock, 
and then home to dress, and dinner. After dinner, tea 
and conversation. I have felt doubly at a loss to-day, 
being absent from both the meeting and you. When 
away from London before, I have had you with me, 
and we could read and talk and walk ; to-day I have 
had no one to fill your place, so I wiU tell you how I 
have done. There are so many here, and their dinner 
so late and long, that I made up my mind to avoid it, 



though, if possible, without appearing singular. So, 
having remained in my room tUl breakfast time, we all 
breakfasted together, and soon after Mr. PhUhps and 
myself took a walk out to the Mumbles Point, at the 
extremity of this side of the bay. There we sat down 
to admu-e the beautifid scenery around us, and, after 
we had viewed it long enough, returned slowly home. 
We stopped at a little village in our way, called Oyster- 
mouth, and dined at a small, neat, homely house about 
one o'clock. We then came back to Marino, and 
after a httle while again went out — Mr. Phillips to a 
relation in the town, and myself for a walk on the 
sands and the edge of the bay. I took tea in a httle 
cottage, and, returning home about seven o'clock, 
found them engaged at dinner, so came up to my own 
room, and shall not see them again to-night. I went 
down for a light just now, and heard them playing 
some sacred music in the drawing-room ; they have all 
been to church to-day, and are what are called regular 

' The trial at Hereford is put off for the present, but 
yet we shall not be able to be in town before the end 
of this week. Though I long to see you, I do not 
know when it will be ; but this I know, that I am 
getting daily more anxious about you. Mr. Phillips 
wrote home to Mrs. Phillips from here even before I 
did — i.e. last Wednesday. This morning he received 
a letter from Mrs. Phillips (who is very well) desiring 
him to ask me for a copy of one of my letters to you, 
that he may learn to write love-letters of sufficient 
length. He laughs at the scolding, and says it does 
not hurt at a distance. 

'Mr. Vivian has just been up to me. They had 


missed me and did not understand it. He wished me 
to go down to tea, or, at least, to send some up, both 
of which I declined. It is now ten o'clock, and he has 
just left me. He has put the train of my thoughts all 
in confusion. I want to know when Jane comes home, 
and who has the kindness to visit you. It seems to 
me so long since I left you that there must have been 
time for a great many things to have happened. I ex- 
pect to see you with such joy when I come home that 
I shall hardly know what to do with myself. I hope 
you will be well and blooming, and animated and 
happy, when you see me. I do not know how we 
shall contrive to get away from here. We certainly 
shall not have concluded before Thursday evening, but 
I think we shall endeavour earnestly to leave this place 
on Friday night, in which case we shall get home late 
on Saturday night. If we cannot do that, as I should 
not like to be travelling all day on Sunday, we shall 
probably not leave until Sunday night ; but I think the 
first plan will be adopted, and that you will not have 
time to answer this letter. I expect, nevertheless, an 
answer to my last letter — i. e. I expect that my dear 
wife will think of me again. Expect here means nothing 
more than I trust and have a full confidence that it 
will be so. My kind girl is so . afiectionate that she 
would not think a dozen letters too much for me if 
there were time to send them, which I am glad there 
is not. 

' Give my love to our mothers as earnestly as you 
would your own, and also to Charlotte or John, or any 
such one that you may have with you. I have not 
written to Paternoster Eow yet, but I am going to write 
now, so that I may be permitted to finish this letter 



here. I do not feel quite sure, indeed, that the per- 
mission to leave ofif is not as necessary from my own 
heart as from yours. 

' With the utmost affection — with perhaps too much 
— I am, my dear wife, my Sarah, your devoted hus- 
band, ' M. Faraday.' 

In 1823 his progress in scientific knowledge appears, 
(1) in his pubhcations and notes, and (2) in the letters 
which he wrote to Prof de la Eive and Mr. Huxtable ; 
(3) the fresh outburst of the storm that began in 1821 
showed his character ; and (4) the scientific honours 
which he now began to receive are evidence of his 

He had two papers pubhshed in the ' Philosophical 
Transactions '-^the first on fluid chlorine, and the second 
on the condensation of several gases into hquids. He 
had eleven papers in the ' Quarterly Journal.' The 
chief were on the temperature produced by vapour ; 
historical statement respecting electro-magnetic rota- 
tion ; change of musket balls in Shrapnell shells ; on 
the action of gunpowder on lead ; on the purple tint 
of plate glass affected by light; and historical statement 
respecting the liquefaction of gases. 

In his laboratory book there is a note, dated June 
26, regarding the diffusion of gases, which is of some 
interest. In 1817 and 1819 Faraday had pubhshed 
experiments on the passage of different gases through 
capillary tubes, &c. ; now he writes, ' made a mixture 
of one vol. oxygen and two vols, hydrogen, filled five 
dry bottles over mercury with the mixture, and also 


four bottles over water ; left them in glasses inverted 
over mercury and water.' ' Some of the bottles were 
put in the sun's rays and dayhght, and some in a dark 
place.' In July 1824 they were examined, and he 
drew the conclusions : ' that mercury cannot confine 
gases perfectly, and that no contraction took place in 
the dark, nor (most probably) in the daylight either.' 
It will be seen that this result was doubted in 1825, 
but not by Faraday. 


He gave to Professor de la Eive and Mr. Huxtable 
an account of his experiments on the condensation of 
gases. It wiU be seen that in the course of these re- 
searches he was exposed to much danger. 


'Eoyal Institution : Marct 24, 1823. 

' My dear Sir, — Though it is now some time since I 
wrote to you, yet the event connected with it is so 
fresh ia my mind that it seems but a week or two ago. 
Dr. Marcet called on me, not much more than a week 
before his death, to say how glad he would be to take 
any parcel or letter in charge for you ; and I, accord- 
ingly, wrote a letter, and put together such copies of 
my papers as I had by me and which you had not 
received, that you might have them at his hands. 
Alas THE event! (Dr. Marcet died a few days after- 

' I do not know whether you have received or are 
likely to receive these things from the persons into 
whose care Dr. Marcet's papers fell. I hope you will, 


for I have not other copies of them, and I am anxious 
they should be honoured by being placed in your 
hands. But I thought I -would write you by the 
post rather than not write at all. I wish and beg to 
express my best acknowledgments to M. de la Eive, 
your son, who has honoured me with a copy of his 
excellent memoir. I hope for the sake of this new 
branch of science that he is pursuing it. That which 
he has done proves what he may do. I hope you 
win do me the kindness to speak of me to him in the 
best way you can, for I am always anxious to obtain 
the good-wiU and commendation of those who are 
themselves worthy of praise. 

'I have been at work lately, and obtained results 
which I hope you wiU approve of. I have been inter- 
rupted twice in the course of experiments by explosions, 
both in the course of eight days — one burnt my eyes, 
the other cut them ; but I fortunately escaped with 
slight injury only in both cases, and am now nearly 
well. During the winter I took the opportunity of 
examining the hydrate of chlorine, and analysing it ; the 
results, which are not very important, will appear in 
the next number of the ' Quarterly Journal,' over which 
I have no influence. Sir H. Davy, on seeing my paper, 
suggested to me to work with it under pressure, and 
see what would happen by heat, &c. Accordingly I 
enclosed it in a glass tube hermetically sealed, heated 
it, obtained a change in the substance, and a separation 
into two different fluids ; and upon further examination 
I found that the chlorine and water had separated from 
each other, and the chlorine gas, not being able to 
escape, had condensed into the liquid form. To prove 
that it contained no water, I dried some chlorine gas, 


introduced it into a long tube, condensed it, and then 1823^ 
cooled the tube, and again obtained fluid chlorine, ^i- si. 
Hence what is called chlorine gas is the vapour of a 

' I have written a paper which has been read to the 
Eoyal Society, and to which the president did me the 
honour to attach a note, pointing out the general appli- 
cation and importance of this mode of producing 
pressure with regard to the liquefaction of gases. He 
immediately formed liquid muriatic acid by a. similar 
means ; and pui'suing the experiments at his request, I 
have since obtained sulphurous acid, carbonic acid, sul- 
phuretted hydrogen, euchlorine, and nitrous oxide in 
the fluid state, quite free from water. Some of these 
require great pressure for this purpose, and I have had 
many explosions. 

' I send you word of these results because I know 
your anxiety to hear of aU that is new ; but do not 
mention them pubhcly (or at least the latter ones) until 
you hear of them either through the journals, or by 
another letter from me or from other persons, because 
Sir Humphry Davy has promised the results in a paper 
to the Eoyal Society for me, and I know he wishes first 
to have them read there : after that they are at your 

' I expect to be able to reduce many other gases to 
the liquid form, and promise myself the pleasure of 
writing you about them. I hope you will honour me 
with a letter soon. 

' I am, dear Sir, very faithfully, your obhged servant, 

' M. Fakadat.' 



'Royal Institution : March 25, 1823. 

' Dear Huxtable, — ^I met with another explosion on 
Saturday evening, which has again laid up my eyes. 
It was from one of my tubes, and was so powerful as 
to drive the pieces of glass like pistol-shot through a 
window. However, I am getting better, and expect to 
see as well as ever in a few days. My eyes were filled 
with glass at first. 

' When you see Magrath, who I hope is improving 
fast, tell him I intended calhng upon him, but my second 
accident has prevented me. 

'Yours ever, 

' M. Faraday.' 


On May 1 his certificate as candidate for the fellow- 
ship of the Eoyal Society was read for the first time. It 
was drawn up by his friend Mr. Eichard Phillips. 

' Mr. Michael Faraday, a gentleman eminently con- 
versant in chemical science, and author of several 
papers, which have been published in the " Transac- 
tions " of the Eoyal Society, being desirous of becoming 
a Fellow thereof, we, whose names are undersigned, do 
of our personal knowledge recommend him as highly 
deserving that honour, and likely to become a useful 
and valuable member.' 

Twenty-nine names follow ; the first four signatures, 
obtained by Mr. PhiUips, were Wm. H. WoUaston, 
J. G. Children, Wm. Babington, Sir W. Herschel. 

Perhaps Sir H. Davy as president, and Mr. Brande 
as secretary, were unable to sign this proposal. It is 


quite certain that some jealousy had sprung up in 1823. 
the mind of Davy, and this year a fresh cause of bad Mt. 31. 
feehng arose. Thirteen years afterwards, Faraday gives 
an account of this to his friend Eichard Phillips. It 
was published in the 'Philosophical Magazine' for 


' Eoyal Institution ; May 10, 1836. 

' My dear Sir, — I have just concluded looking over 
Dr. Davy's life. . . . 

'I regret that Dr. Davy has made that necessary 
which I did not think before so ; but I feel that I 
cannot, after his observation, indulge my earnest desire 
to be silent on the matter, without incurring the risk of 
being charged with something opposed to an honest 
character. This I dare not risk ; but in answering for 
myself, I trust it will be understood that I have been 
driven unwillingly into utterance. 

' The facts of the case, as far as I know them, are 
these : — In the spring of 1823 Mr. Brande was Professor 
of Chemistry, Sir Humphry Davy Honorary Professor 
of Chemistry, and I Chemical Assistant in the Eoyal 
Institution. Having to give personal attendance on 
both the morning and afternoon chemical lectures, my 
time was very fully occupied. Whenever any circum- 
stance relieved me in part from the duties of my situa- 
tion, I used to select a subject of research and try my 
skill upon it. Chlorine was with me a favourite object, 
and having before succeeded in discovering new com- 
pounds of that element with carbon, I had considered 
that body more deeply, and resolved to resume its con- 


1823. sideration at tte first opportunity. Accordingly, the 
^1.31. absence of Sir H. Davy from town having relieved me 
from a part of the laboratory duty, I took advantage 
of the leisure and the cold v^eather, and worked 
-upon frozen chlorine. On Sir H. Davy's return to 
town, which I think must have been about the end of 
February or beginning of March, he inquired what I had 
been doing, and I communicated the results to him as 
far as I had proceeded, and said I intended to publish 
them in the " Quarterly Journal of Science." 

' It was then that he suggested to me the heating of 
the crystals in a closed tube, and I proceeded to make 
the experiment, which Dr. Paris witnessed, and has from 
his own knowledge described (Paris's " Life of Davy," 
voL ii. p. 210). 

' I did not at that time know what to anticipate, for 
Sir H. Davy had not told me his expectations, and I 
had not reasoned so deeply as he appears to liave done. 
Perhaps he left me unacquainted with them to try 
my ability. 

'How I should have proceeded with the chlorine 
crystals without the suggestion I cannot now say ; but 
with the hint of heating the crystals in a closed tube 
ended for the time Sir H. Davy's instructions to me, 
and I puzzled out for myself, in the manner Dr. Paris 
describes, that the oil I had obtained was condensed 

' When my paper was vrritten, it was, according to a 
custom consequent upon our relative positions, sub- 
mitted to Sir H. Davy (as were all my papers for the 
"Philosophical Transactions" up to a much later period), 
and he altered it as he thought fit. This practice 


was one of great kindness to me, for various grammati- J823. ^ 
cal mistakes and awkward expressions were from time ^t.31-32. 
to time thus removed, wliich might else have re- 

' To this paper Sir H. Davy added a note, in which 
he says, " In desiring Mr. Faraday to expose the hydrate 
of chlorine to heat in a closed glass tube, it occurred to 
vie that one of three things would happen : that it would 
become fluid as a hydrate ; or that a decomposition of 
water would occur, and euchlorine and muriatic acid 
be formed ; or that the chlorine would separate in a 
condensed state." And then he makes the subject his 
own by condensing muriatic acid, and states that he had 
"requested me (of course as Chemical Assistant) to 
pursue these experiments, and to extend them to aU 
the gases which are of considerable density, or to any 
extent soluble in water," &c. This I did, and when he 
favoured me by requesting that I would Avrite a paper 
on the results, I began it by stating that Sir H. Davy 
did me the honour to request I would continue the 
experiments, which I have done under his general 
direction, and the following are some of the results 
already obtained. And this paper being immediately 
followed by one on the apphcation of these liquids as 
mechanical agents by Sir H. Davy, he says in it, " one 
of the principal objects I had in view in causing experi- 
ments to he made on the condensation of different 
gaseous bodies by generating them under pressure," 

• • • • k • 

' I have never remarked upon or denied Sir H. Davy's 
right to his share of the condensation of chlorine or 
VOL. I. z 



, ^^^^- . the Other gases ; on the contrary, I think that I long 
^T.31-32. ago did him full "justice "in the papers themselves. How 
could it be otherwise ? He saw and revised the manu- 
scripts ; through his hands they went to the Eoyal Society, 
of which he was President at the time ; and he saw 
and revised the printer's proofs. Although he did not 
tell me of his expectations when he suggested the heat- 
ing the crystals in a closed tube, yet I have no doubt 
that he had them ; and though perhaps I regretted losing 
my subject, I was too much indebted to him for much 
previous kindness to think of saying that that was mine 
which he said was his. But observe (for my sake), that 
Sir H. Davy nowhere states that he told me what he 
expected, or contradicts the passages in the first paper 
of mine which describe my course of thought, and in 
which I claim the development of the actual results. 

'AH this activity in the condensing of gases was 
simultaneous with the electro-magnetic affair ; and I had 
learned to be cautious upon points of right and priority. 
When therefore I discovered, in the course of the same 
year, that neither I nor Sir U. Davy had the merit of 
first condensing the gases, and especially chlorine, I 
hastened to perform what I thought right, and had great 
pleasure in spontaneously doing justice and honour to 
those who deserved it. (Monge and Clouet had con- 
densed sulphurous acid probably before the year 1800 ; 
Northmore condensed chlorine in the years 1805 and 
1806 — "Nicholson's Journal," xii. xiii.) I therefore 
published on January 1, in the following year, 1824, 
a historical statement of the liquefaction of gases 
(" Quarterly Journal of Science," xvi. 229). 

' The value of this statement of mine has since been 


fully proved, for upon Mr. ISTortlimore's complaint, ten 1823. 
years after, with some degree of reason, that great ^T.31-32, 
injustice had been done to him in the affair of the con- 
densation of gases, and his censure of "the conduct of 
Sir H. Davy, Mr. Faraday, and several other philoso- 
phers for withholding the name of the first discoverer," 
I was able by referring to the statement to convince 
him and his friends, that if my papers had done him 
wrong, / at least had endeavoured also to do him right. 
(" Philosophical Magazine," 1834, iv. p. 261.) 

' Believing that I have now said enough to preserve 
my own " honest fame " from any injury it might have 
risked from the mistakes of Dr. Davy, I willingly 
bring this letter to a close, and trust that I shall never 
again have to address you on the subject. 

' I am, my dear Sir, yours, &c. 

' M. Fakaday.' 

' Note afterwards added: — 'Befoee my account of 
the hydrate could be printed (April 1823), the other 
experiments were made, and Davy's note to the Eoyal 
Society read (March 13, 1823).' 

That Sir H. Davy actively opposed Faraday's elec- 
tion is no less certain than it is sad. 

Many years ago, Faraday gave a friend the following 
facts, which were written down immediately : — ' Sir H. 
Davy told me I must take down my certificate. I re- 
plied that I had not put it up ; that I could not take 
it down, as it was put up by my proposers. He then 
said I must get my proposers to take it down. I 
answered that I knew they would not do so. Then he 
said, I as President will take it down. I replied that 

z 2 


1823. I -nras sure Sir H. Davy would do what he thought 
iET.31-32. was for the good of the Eoyal Society.' 

Faraday also said that one of his proposers told him 
that Sir H. Davy had walked for an hour round the 
courtyard of Somerset House, arguing that Faraday 
ought not to be elected. This was probably about 
May 30. On June 29, Su- H. Davy ends a note, 'I 
am, dear Faraday, very sincerely your well-wisher and 
friend.' So that outwardly the storm rapidly passed 
away ; and when the ballot was taken, after the cer- 
tificate had been read at ten meetings, there was only 
one black ball. 

In 1835, Faraday writes : — 

'I was by no means in the same relation as to 
scientific communication with Sir Humphry Davy after 
I became a Fellow of the Eoyal Society as before that 
period ; but whenever I have ventured to follow in the 
path which Sir Humphry Davj^ has trod, I have done 
so with respect and with the highest admiration of his 
talents ; and nothing gave me more pleasure, in rela- 
tion to" my last published paper, the eighth series (of 
" Experimental Eesearches "), than the thought that, 
whilst I was helping to elucidate a still obscure branch 
of science, I was able to support the views advanced 
twenty-eight years ago, and for the first time, by our 
great philosopher.' 

The Athen^wm Club was formed in 1823, and Faraday 
was the first Secretary ; but ' finding the occupation 
incompatible with his pursuits, he resigned in May 
1824.' * The original prospectus and early lists of 



members have his name attached to them.' His friend . ^^^^ 
Magrath was made Secretary in his place. .Et.31-32. 


The first scientific honour which was paid to Faraday 
in England came fi:om the Cambridge Philosophical 
Society. The reputation which he had gained abroad 
is seen in his election this year as corresponding mem- 
ber of the Academy of Sciences, the highest scientific 
society in France ; whilst in Italy he was made corre- 
spondent of the Accademia dei Georgofili of Florence. 

In all, Faraday received not less than ninety-five 
honorary titles and marks of merit ; and to the end of 
his life he could say what he said to Mr. Spring Eice 
in 1838, when he was asked why he received a pen- 
sion. What were his titles ? He answered, ' One title, 
namely, that of F.E.S., was sought and paid for ; all 
the rest were spontaneous ofierings of kindness and 
good-wiU from the bodies named.' 

In 1854 he answers Lord Wrottesley, ' I cannot say 
I have not valued such distinctions ; on the contrary, I 
esteem them very highly, but I do not think I have 
ever worked for or sought them.' 

In 1824-25 the progress of Faraday is but shghtly 
marked. His scientific life is seen, (1) in the works he 
published ; (2) in the notes he made in the laboratory 
book ; (3) in the lectures he delivered, and in the ap- 
pointments and titles that were given to him ; (4) two 
letters, one to his wife and the other to his sister, are 
the only indications of his character at this time. 





In 1824 he published five papers in the 'Quarterly- 
Journal of Science.' The next year he had eight papers 
in that journal. The most important of these were, 
(1) on some cases of the formation of ammonia, and on 
the means of testing the presence of minute portions of 
nitrogen in certain states (whence the ammonia comes 
in organic substances containing no nitrogen, and in 
inorganic substances, and in some metals, he was un- 
able to discover — the dust with which air is adulterated 
was not then suspected); (2) on the substitution of 
tubes for bottles in the preservation of certain fluids, as 
chloride of sulphur ; (3) on the composition of crystals 
of sulphate of soda. 

His chief scientific work was published in a paper 
in the ' Philosophical Transactions,' on new compounds 
of carbon and hydrogen, and on certain other products 
obtained during the decomposition of oil by heat. 

The Portable Gas Company at this period condensed 
oil-gas with a pressure of thirty atmospheres. A thou- 
sand cubical feet of good gas yielded one gallon of a 
fluid which was a mixture of difierent compounds of 
carbon and hydrogen. The most important was the 
bicarburet of hydrogen, as Faraday named it. It has 
been since called benzol, and now benzine. It is at 
present prepared in immense quantities for the manu- 
facture of the anihne colours. He had a paper on the 
formation of ammonia in Thomson's ' Annals of Philo- 
sophy.' In relation to his future work, the following 
experiments are of interest : they are in the laboratory 
book for 1824. 

October 11th. — Attempt to ascertain polarisation of 


crystals. A small perfect crystal of nitre, about two 1824-25. 
inches long, was suspended in succession by a single .iET.32-34. 
silkworm fibre and a spider's thread, each being about 
fourteen inches long. They were hung from the top 
of a glass jar as balances of torsion, then a very large 
crystal of nitre was placed beneath the small crystal, 
and as near as could be to allow freedom of motion ; 
but after long examination no tendency to direction 
relatively to the large crystal could be observed. 

On December 28, 1824, he records his first experi- 
ment on magnetic electricity. It is published in the 
' Quarterly Journal of Science,' July 1825, p. 338 : — 

' As the current of electricity produced by a voltaic 
battery, when passing through a metallic conductor, 
powerfully afiects a magnet, tending to make its poles 
pass round a wire, and in this way moving consider- 
able masses ©f matter, it was supposed that a reaction 
would be exerted upon the electric current, capable of 
producing some visible effect ; and the expectation 
being, for various reasons, that the approximation of 
the pole of a powerful magnet would diminish the cur- 
rent of electricity, the following experiment was made : 
the poles of a battery of from two to thirty four-inch 
plates- were connected by a metallic wire, formed in 
one part into a helix with numerous convolutions, 
whilst into the circuit at another part was introduced a 
delicate galvanometer. The magnet was then put, in 
various positions and to different extents, into the helix, 
and the needle of the galvanometer was noticed : no 
effect, however, upon it could be observed. The circuit 
was made very long, short, of wires of different metals 
and different diameters, down to extreme fineness, but 
the results were always the same. Magnets more or 



1824-25. less powerful were used, some so strong as to bend the 
j<:t.32-34. Avire in its endeavours to pass round them. Hence it 
appears that, however powerful the action of an elec- 
tric current may be upon a magnet, the latter has no 
tendency by reaction to diminish or increase the in- 
tensity of the former — a fact which, though of a nega- 
tive kind, appears to me to be of some importance.' 


From the laboratory book,' dated November 28 and 
29, 1825, he at this time worked on electric and electro- 
magnetic induction. 

' Two copper wires were tied close together, a 
thickness of paper only intervening, for a length of five 
feet : one of them was made the connecting wire of a 
battery of forty pairs of plates, four mches square, in 
rather weak action ; and the ends of the other were 
connected with a galvanometer. ISTo effects, however, 
upon its needle could be observed ; consequently no 
visible proofs of induction by the wire, through Avhich 
the current was passing, upon its neighbour could this 
way be perceived. 

' In reference to certain views with respect to the 
axis of action ; the connecting wire of the battery 
passed through the centre of a helix, but this gave no 
results. Again, a helix being in connection with the 
poles of the pile, a straight Avire occupying its axis was 
connected with the galvanometer, but no apparent effects 
(were observed). The galvanometer was not a very 
delicate one.' 

' If magnetic action be simply electi-ical action, as 
M. Ampere considers it, then magnetic induction must 
be electrical induction, and M. Arago's experiments 


must depend upon induced electrical action. Hence 1824-25. 
electrical poles or surfaces ought to produce similar .iET.32-34. 
effects ; for though the electricity will not be in such 
quantity, and not in motion, still it has sufficient attrac- 
tive and repulsive powers. And it appears to me that 
the mere difference of motion or rest, as respects the 
electricity in the inducing body, will not explain such 
retention of the induced state in one case (magnetism), 
and such resignation of it in the other (the experiment 
proposed), as to account for dragging attraction in the 
former, and not in the latter state of things.' 

' De Luc's column well warmed and suspended by a 
silk thread, five feet long, over a plate of copper — 
revolution of the plate caused no revolution of the 

' A Ley den jar was fitted with a wire and ball, then 
suspended upside down, so that when charged its knob 
was positive, the knob of the wire negative ; it was 
then brought over opposite extremities of the diameter 
of the wheeling copper plate. No difference, however, 
could be perceived in the action of the plate when in 
motion upon the jar and wire, whether the latter were 
charged or uncharged.' 

He prepared some experiments on the existence of 
vapour at low temperatures, and he sent all the appa- 
ratus necessary with Captain Franklin. Some years 
afterwards, he wrote at the end of his notes, ' Never 
got any account of the results.' 


His lectures, appointments, and titles, in 1824-25 
were these : — 

Professor Brande at this time gave a course of lee- 



1824-25. tures, in the morning, on chemistry and physics. Fara- 
iET.32-34. day took a part of this course of laboratory lectures in 

The President and Council of the Koyal Society 
appointed a committee for the improvement of glass 
for optical purposes. It consisted of Fellows of the 
Eoyal Society and members of the Board of Longitude. 
Faraday was put on this committee. 

Early in January 1824 he was elected a Fellow of 
the Eoyal Society ; also of the Geological Society, and 
honorary member of the Cambrian Society of Swansea. 
In 1825 he was elected a member of the Eoyal Institu- 
tion and a corresponding member of the Society of 
Medical Chemists, Paris. 

From the manager's minutes for February 7, 1825, 
it appears that Sir H. Davy, ' having stated that he 
considered the talents and services of Mr. Faraday, 
assistant in the laboratory, entitled to some mark of 
approbation from the managers, and these sentiments 
having met the cordial concurrence of the board : 
Eesolved that Mr. Faraday be appointed Director of 
the Laboratory under the superintendence of the Pro- 
fessor of Chemistry.' 

His first act showed his energy and desire to promote 
the welfare of the members. He invited the members 
of the Institution to come to evening meetings in the 
laboratory. 'Three or four meetings took place this 
year.' At one of these Faraday gave the members an 
account of the electro-magnetic motions which he had 
discovered four years previously. From these evenings 
in the laboratory the present Friday evening discourses 
in the theatre of the Institution had their origin. 

In May, a sub-committee, consisting of Mr. Herschel, 


Mr. DoUond, and Mr. Faraday, was appointed to have 1824-25 
the direct superintendence and performance of experi- ^T.32-34. 
ments on the manufacture of optical glass. ' It was my 
business to investigate particularly the chemical part of 
the inquiry : Mr. DoUond was to work and try the 
glass, and ascertain practically its good or bad qualities ; 
whilst Mr. Herschel was to examine its physical pro- 
perties, reason respecting their influence and utility, 
and make his competent mind bear upon every part 
of the inquiry. In March 1829 the committee was 
reduced to two by the retirement of Mr. Herschel, who 
about that period went to the Continent.' 

In July he left London by steamboat for Scotland. 
After visiting the damask works at Edinburgh, he saw 
the glass works at Leith. He minutely describes the 
geology of Salisbury Craig, Arthur's Seat, and Craigs- 
leith quarries ; and then he went to Eubislaw (Bleach- 
ing Liquor Works), Aberdeen. Here he made many 
experiments for the proprietors, with whom he stayed. 


July 31, 1824. — He wrote from London to Mrs. 
Faraday, at Niton, in the Isle of Wight. 

He had left her two days before ; slept at Freshwater 
Gate, crossed next day from Yarmouth to Lymington, 
got to Southampton in the evening, and reached Lon- 
don next morning by eight o'clock. 


' Saturday, July 31, 1824. 

' My dear Sarah, — The preparations I make seem tO' 
promise you what you desired— namely, a yery long 
descriptive letter; and if I can keep my eyes open (and 


whilst writing to you there can be no reason to doubt 
that), you shall have your desire. So much occurred 
in the various little incidents after I left you that I 
wished to tell you, that I think I had better go on in 
regular order from that time till the present moment. 

' I feel rather tired and stiff myself, and perhaps that 
makes my letter so too ; but my dear girl is, I know, 
a girl of consideration, and will not insist upon having 
two or three pages of affection after so much narrative. 
Indeed, I see no use in measuring it out at all. I am 
yours, my heart and thoughts are yours, and it would 
be a mere formality to write it down so ; and capable 
of adding nothing to the truth, but that I have as much 
pleasure in saying it as you have in hearing it said, 
and that it is not with us at least a measure or token 
of affection merely, but the spontaneous result of it. 
I have not yet been to see my mother, but I am going 

' I found certain French and German journals here, 
and, on inquiry at Murray's, found that Dr. Ure had 
given up his department of the Journal (i. e. I fancy it 
has been taken from him), and the journals were sent 
to me to assist the Miscellanea. The Miscellanea swim 
as long as most of the departments of that journal. 

' Adieu, my dear girl, for the present : write to me 
soon ; give my love to father and mother, and remem- 
ber me to Mr. L. I shall write to you again about the 
end of next week. 

' From your sincerely affectionate husband, 

' M. Faraday.' 


BOis description and remarks upon Brighton, in a 
letter to his sister, show something of his character and 


'Niton: August 26, 1824. 

' My dear Margaret, — . . . At Brighton we dined 
with sister S., and found all well ; we then rambled 
out geologising, &c. 

' I do not at all admire Brighton, i.e. its character 
as a fashionable or interesting place. It is a very con- 
venient place for distance, lodging, accommodation, 
food, &c.- — but these are not what I refer to ; I mean as 
to its beauties, natural or artificial, or as to its importance 
in advancing great interests, as civihsation or improve- 

' Considered in this way, Brighton is to me very com- 
monplace and poor : there are no natural beauties there 
to distinguish it from a thousand other places ; there 
are no high interests concerned to raise it above the 
poor distinction of being a place resorted to by company 
because other company was there before them. As to 
the Pavilion, there is scarcely a single cottage in or 
about this poor village of Crab Niton that does not 
both in beauty and use surpass it. The Pavilion has 
no beauty for the painter ; and what is intended for 
beauty, of which there is a great deal, has no use. 

' The Steine is a good street, and many of the squares 
and places are good, also many of the old houses ; and 
could one but see a sufficient cause why they had 
come together — i.e. the presence of any beautiful or 
useful feature— the town, with the exception of one or 
two things, would be a very good one. It has, however, 



1826-29 . one thing perfectly beautiful every way in the chain- 
^T.34-38. pier — an admirable specimen of ingenuity and art, and 

which, destined to useful purposes, not only pleases the 

eye but satisfies the mind. 

• • • • • a 

' Your ever affectionate brother, 

'M. Faeadat.' 

Erom 1826 to 1829, the knowledge that remains of 
(1) the scientific education, (2) the reputation, and (3) 
the character of Faraday comes from the same sources 
as in previous years. 


In 1826 he had two papers in the 'Philosophical 
Transactions :' one was upon the mutual action of sul- 
phuric acid and naphthaline,and the discovery of sulpho- 
naphthalic acid; and the other was on the existence 
of a limit to vaporisation. These were the chief sub- 
jects of his laboratory work during this and the previous 

In the ' Quarterly Journal ' he had ten papers. Of 
these the chief were on pure caoutchouc, and the sub- 
stances by which it is accompanied ; on sulpho-naphtha- 
lic acid ; on bisulphuret of copper; and on the fluidity 
of sulphur at common temperatures. 

He began the Friday evening meetings of the members 
of the Eoyal Institution. Out of the seventeen discourses 
this year Faraday gave six. These were, — on pure 
caoutchouc; on Brunei's condensed gas-engine ; on litho- 
graphy ; on sulpho-vinic and sulpho-naphthalic acid ; on 
Drummond's light ; on Brunei's tunnel at Eotherhithe. 

At the beginning of the third evening he gave 


from the following notes his idea of the nature of these 1826-29. 
lectures : 'Evening opportunities — interesting, amusing, jEt.34-38.. 
instruct also : — scientific research — abstract reasoning, 
but in a popular way — dignity ; — facilitate our object of 
attracting the world, and making ourselves with science 
attractive to it.' In another notebook he made a list 
of no less than fifty-four subjects for single lectures, the 
object being 'to illustrate popular subjects, to connect 
parts of science and facts generally separated and 
sometimes neglected in scientific arrangement ; ' and in 
the same book he made a list of lecture experiments 
and illustrations. This he continued down to 1850. 

In 1827 he published his 'Chemical Manipulation,' in 
one volume, 8vo ; a second edition appeared in 1830, and 
a third in 1842. He refused to bring out a later edition, 
although it would have continued to be profitable. 

The object of the volume is to facilitate to the young 
chemist the acquirement of manipulation, and, by con- 
sequence, his progress in the science itself It does not 
attempt to inculcate the principles of the science, but 
the practice ; neither does it claim to teach a habit of 
reasoning, but has solely in view the art of experi- 
menting. In the pursuit of this object it is intended 
to describe : — 

The conveniences and requisites of a laboratory. 

General chemical apparatus and its uses. 

The methods of performing chemical operations. 

The facilities acquired by practice. 

The causes which make experiments fail or succeed. 

He had six papers in the 'Quarterly Journal of 
Science :' — On the probable decomposition of certain 
gaseous compounds of carbon and hydrogen during 


■ 1827. sudden expansion. On a peculiar perspective appear- 
-s;t.35-36. ance of aerial light and shade. Experiments on the 
nature of Labarraque's disinfecting liquid. On the 
fluidity of sulphur and phosphorus at common tempera- 
tures. On transferrence of heat by change of capacity 
in gas. On the confinement of dry gases over mercury. 
He begins this last paper thus : — ' The results of an ex- 
periment made Jime 26th, 1823, by myself, and quoted 
as such, having been deemed of sufficient interest to be 
doubted, I have been induced to repeat it.' And he 
then goes on to give three of the earliest experiments 
that were ever made on the diffusion of gases. 

There is a sad interest attached to these experiments. 
The doubter was Sir Humphry Davy. The last ex- 
periment Davy made in the laboratory of the Eoyal 
Institution was probably on this subject ; for the last 
entry in the laboratory book in his handwriting is 
dated Feb. 5, 1826. 'Experiment of July 1825 exa- 
mined. — The hydrogen confined by mercury, whether 
in a bottle with a stopper, or merely confined by dry 
mercury, contained no common air. 

' In that confined by water and mercury there was a 
shght diminution, such as might be expected from the 
air contained in the water, but not appreciable.' 

Faraday's experiments were begun, he says, on June 
28, 1825, and the examination of the gases was made 
September 15, 1826. He proved that there was no 
mistake in his original observation made in 1823-24. 

In the paper on sulphur he says, ' I published some 
time ago (the year previous) a short account of an 
instance of the existence of fluid sulphur at common 
temperatures ; and though I thought the fact curious, 
I did not esteem it of such importance as to put more 


than my initials to the account. I have just learned, }^^^Z^ 
through the " Bulletin Universel " for September (p. 78), ^t.34-38. 
that Signer Bellani had observed the same i'act in 
1813, and published it in the " Giornale di Fisica." M. 
Bellani complains of the manner in which facts and 
theories which have been published by him are after- 
wards given by others as new discoveries ; and though 
I find myself classed with Gay-Lussac, Sir H. Davy, 
Daniell, and Bostock, in having thus erred, I shall not 
rest satisfied without making restitution, for M. Bellani 
in this instance certainly deserves it at my hand.' 

He gave his first course of six lectures in the theatre 
of the Institution in April, on chemical philosophy. 

His subjects were, the atmosphere, general view of 
the relation of air, gases, and vapour ; chemical afiinity, 
definite proportions, flame, voltaic pile, magnetism 
principally as evolved by electricity. 

In his second lecture he says : — ' We may now boldly 
affirm that no philosophical reason exists for making a 
distinction between gases and vapours. Gases are shown 
not to be permanently elastic, but to be condensible 
like acknowledged vapours.' 

He ends his third lecture thus : — ' Wonderful activity 
of matter in nature from few chemical elements. Our 
present state a state of quiescence almost. Conceive 
the effect of putting the elements of the globe together 
in an uncombined state, or even, of shghtly altering the 
proportion of the affinities, which in their present state 
are so admirably and beautifully arranged as to give 
energy to the volcano, to be subservient to the expan- 
sion of the tenderest bud or flower, and to minister 
equally and essentially to the development and the 

VOL. I. A A 



1826-29. existence of the most perfect and the most transitory 
jetm-38. of animated beinsrs.' 

He gave twelve lectures, from February to May, at 
the London Institution. The subject of his course was 
on the philosophy and practice of chemical mani- 

He began his first lecture thus, on February 1 3 : — 

' The object for which we are assembled will have 
been announced to you by the notices and the cards 
that have been issued from the authorities of this 
Institution. It is the development, in a course of 
lectures, of the principles and practice of chemical 
manipulation. The subject is new to the lecture-room, 
and almost to the library ; nor has it ever been con- 
sidered in that full and explicit manner it deserves. 
With the exception of some brief and general directions, 
each person has been left to discover and work out 
the means comprised in it for himself; and that which 
is essential to the progress of everyone in chemical 
science has been taught only, in the very depths of 
the laboratory, to a highly privileged few, more indeed 
in the manner of an alchemical secret than of useful 
and experimental knowledge which should be open 
to all. 

'You will not, therefore, be surprised at the use 
of terms which may now and then sound new to 
your ears, though I trust always clear to your under- 
standings. The word manipulation, for instance, though 
not usual in ordinary language, is so peculiarly ex- 
pressive of the great object of these lectures, that I 
could not hesitate a moment to use it. It implies 
working, or, more precisely, the use of the hands, being 
derived from the word mantis, which signifies a hand ; 


and by the expression "chemical manipulation" I 1826-29. 
wish you to understand that practice and habit of ^t.34-38. 
using the hands expertly in chemical investigation 
by which the philosopher may successfully acquire 
experimental truth. It is curious that the only recent 
dictionary wliich notices the word has given a very 
partial and limited meaning in place of the general one ; 
and if upon this occasion you feel inclined to refer to 
such authorities, I must beg to direct your attention 
to the " Dictionnaire de Trevoux," where its sense and 
meaning are correctly expressed. 

'On entering upon this subject, I for my own sake 
beg to give a direction to your expectations, while I 
disclaim any endeavour to furnish you in twelve lectures 
with that kind and degree of manipulatory knowledge 
which is necessary to the philosopher or even to the 
student. I should cheat you were I, for the sake of 
attracting your attention, to lead you to suppose this 
could be clone. Instruction by lectures being confined 
to the few and limited occasions upon which the lec- 
turer and his audience meet, is deficient in those essen- 
tial elements of expert manipulation — time and practice. 

'Indeed, if it were possible, I should presume to 
offer such information only to a bench of students ; for 
I think I shall better fill the office with which I am here 
honoured by illustrating and explaining the means 
which others take to wrest truths from nature, than by 
insufficiently prompting you to imitate their exertions, 
I intend to take advantage of the multitude of beautiful 
facts that have been discovered to illustrate the manner 
of their development. I desire to make you acquainted 
with the means by which chemical science is primarily 
advanced and exalted, chemical arts extended and 

A A 2 


1826-29. improved ; and by laying open to you the paths through 
jet.34-38. which others are running their career, enable you to 
watch their advances, judge their assertions, estimate 
their difficulties, and award their praise.' 

On December 29 he gave, at the Eoyal Institution, 
the first of a course of six lectures on chemistry, adapted 
to a juvenile audience. His notes began thus : ' Sub- 
stances and affinity ; brief remarks upon the objects of 
the course. Touch principally upon tangible chemistry, 
and then only on those parts which, being constantly 
before us in one form or another, ought to be well un- 
derstood in the first place, if only as being part of 
general knowledge. Desire to convey clear notions of 
some of the most important and familiar chemical ob- 
jects around us. Intended simplicity of the lectures.' 
There are eighty-six experiments put down to illustrate 
this first lecture. The last words of the last lecture are, 
' Now take leave, hoping you will i-emember a good 
deal of what I have told you and shown you respecting 
the atmosphere, water, combustible bodies, the acids 
and metals, those very important elements of chemical 

Afterwards he added in his note-book, 'These six 
juvenile lectures were just what they ought to have 
been, both in matter and manner, but it would not 
answer to give an extended course in the same spirit.' 

In another note he says : ' This year the President and 
Council of the Eoyal Society applied to the President and 
Managers of the Eoyal Institution for leave to erect on 
their premises an experimental room with a furnace, for 
the purpose of continuing the investigation on the manu- 
facture of optical glass. They were guided in this by the 
desire which the Eoyal Institution has always evinced 


to assist in the advancement of science, and the readiness 1826-29. 
■with which the apphcation was granted showed that no JEt.ziss. 
mistaken notion had been formed in this respect. As 
a member of both bodies, I felt much anxiety that the 
investigation should be successful. A room and furnaces 
were built at the Eoyal Institution in September 1827, 
and an assistant was engaged, Sergeant Anderson, of 
the Eoyal Artillery. He came on December 3. 

There were nineteen Friday evening meetings at the 
Eoyal Institution. Faraday gave three discourses. 

The first was on magnetic phenomena developed by 
metals in motion. At the end of the notes of this 
lecture Faraday again says what he wished the Friday 
evenings to be — 'permitted to refer to them — as being 
actively engaged in their first institution, and as secre- 
taiy of the Committee — their nature — agreeable — 
easy — meeting — where members have the privilege of 
bringing friends, and where aU may feel at ease — desir- 
able to have all things of interest placed there — large 
or small — opportunities of library or lecture room — 
nature of the lecture room affair — relieved from all for- 
malities except those essential to secure the attention and 
freedom of all — long or short — good matter — ^the kind 
— after which adjourn to tea and talk — may well hope 
that now the feeling such, that literary subjects shall be 
intermingled with those of science and art.' 

In 1828 he published two papers in the ' Quarterly 
Journal : ' on the relation of water to hot polished sur- 
laces, and on anhydrous crystals of sulphate of soda. 

He gave eight lectures, 'On the operations of the 
laboratory,' after Easter this year. He says, 'They were 
not to my mind. There does not appear to be that 
opportunity of fixing the attention of the audience, by a 


1826-29. single, clear, consistent, and connected chain of reason- 
;et.34-38. ing, which occurs when a principal or one particular 
application is made. The lectures appeared to me to be 
broken, or, at least, the facts brought forward were not 
used as proofs of their most striking or important effects, 
but as proofs of some subordinate effect common to all. 
I do not think the operations of the laboratory can be 
rendered useful or popular at the same time in lectures ; 
or, at least, I think I have not the way, and can do 
better with other subjects, as some general points of 
chemical philosophy.' 

He gave five of the Friday evening lectures : illus- 
trations of the new phenomena produced by a current 
of air or vapour recently observed by M. Clement ; two 
on the reciprocation of sound — the matter belonged 
to Mr. Wheatstone, but was delivered by Faraday, as 
was also a discourse on the nature of musical sound ; 
the last evening was on the recent and present state of 
the Thames Tunnel. 

In 1829 he gave the Bakerian lecture at the Eoyal 
Society, on the manufacture of glass for optical pur- 

This most laborious investigation did not end in the 
desired improvement in telescopes ; but the glass then 
manufactured, as will be seen hereafter, became of 
the utmost importance in Faraday's diamagnetic and 
magneto-optical researches, and the work led to the 
permanent engagement, in 1832, of Mr. Anderson as 
his assistant. 

This lecture is printed in the ' Philosophical Trans- 
actions' for 1830. At the beginning Faraday says : ' I 
cannot resist the occasion which is thus offered to me 
of mentioning the name of Mr. Anderson, who came to 


me as an assistant in the glass experiments, and has re- 1826-29. 
mained ever since in the laboratory of the Royal Institu- -Et.34-38. 
tion. He has assisted me in all the researches into 
which I have entered since that time ; and to his care, 
steadiness, exactitude, and faithfulness in the perfor- 
mance of all that has been committed to his charge, I 
am much indebted.' 

He gives the following introduction : — 

' When the philosopher desires to apply glass in the 
construction of perfect instruments, and especially the 
achromatic telescope, its manufacture is found liable to 
imperfections so important and so difficult to avoid, 
that science is frequently stopped in her progress by 
them — a fact fully proved by the circumstance that 
Mr. DoUond, one of our first opticians, has not been 
able to obtain a disc of flint glass, 4^ inches in 
diameter, fit for a telescope, within the last five years ; 
or a similar disc, of 5 inches, within the last ten years. 

' This led to the appointment by Sir H. Davy of the 
Eoyal Society Committee, and the Government removed 
the excise restrictions, and undertook to bear all the ex- 
penses as long as the investigation ofiered a reasonable 
hope of success. 

' The experiments were begun at the Falcon Glass 
Works, three miles from the Eoyal Institution, and con- 
tinued there in 1825, 1826, and to September 1827, 
when a room was built at the Institution. At first the 
inquiry was pursued principally as related to flint and 
crown glass ; but in September 1828 it was directed 
exclusively to the preparation and perfection of peculiar 
heavy and fusible glasses, from which time continued 
progress has been made.' 

The paper then proceeds with an exact description 


1826-29. of this heavy optical glass: 'Its great use being to give 
^T.34-38. efficient instructions to the few who may desire to manu- 
facture optical glass.' 

In 1830 the experiments on glass-making were 

In 1831, the Committee for the Improvement of Glass 
for Optical Purposes reported to the Eoyal Society 
Council ' that the telescope made with Mr. Faraday's 
glass has been examined by Captain Kater a.nd Mr. 
Pond. It bears as great a power as can reasonably be 
expected, and is very achromatic. The Committee 
therefore recommend that Mr. Faraday be requested to 
make a perfect piece of glass of the largest size that his 
present apparatus will admit, and also to teach some 
person to manufacture the glass for general sale.' 

In answer to this, Faraday sent the following letter 
to Dr. Eoget, Sec. R. S. 

' Royal Institution : July 4, 1831. 

' Dear Sir, — I send you herewith four large and two 
small manuscript volumes relating to optical glass, and 
comprising the journal book and sub-committee book, 
since the period that experimental investigations com- 
menced at the Eoyal Institution. 

' With reference to the request which the Council of 
the Eoyal Society have done me the honour of making 
— namely, that I should continue the investigation — I 
should, under circumstances of perfect freedom, assent 
to it at once ; but obliged as I have been to devote the 
whole of my spare time to the experiments already 
described, and consequently to resign the pursuit of such 
philosophical inquiries as suggested themselves to my 
own mind, I would wish, under present circumstances, 
to lay the glass aside for a while, that I may enjoy the 


pleasure of working out my own thoughts on other 1826-29. 

subjects. JEt.34-38. 

' If at a future time the investigation should be re- 
newed, I must beg it to be clearly understood I cannot 
promise full success should I resume it : all that industry 
and my abilities can effect shall be done; but to perfect 
a manufacture, not being a manufacturer, is what I am 
not bold enough to promise. 

' I am, &c., 

' M. Faeadat.' 

In 1845 he added this note : — 

' I consider our results as negative, except as regards 
any good that may have resulted from my heavy glass 
in the hands of Amici (who applied it to microscopes), 
and in my late experiments on hght.' 

In May 1829, at the Institution, he gave six lectures 
on various points of chemical philosophy. His subjects 
were, water, hydrocarbons, artificial heat, artificial light, 
safety lamp, common salt. 

He ended his lecture on the safety lamp with the 
words he had used in the lecture on this subject at the 
City Philosophical Society : ' Such is the philosophical 
history of this most important discovery. I shall not 
refer to supposed claims of others to the same invention, 
more than to say that I was a witness in our laboratory 
to the gradual and beautiful development of the train 
of thought and experiments which produced it. The 
honour is Sir H. Davy's, and I do not think that this 
beautiful gem in the rich crown of fame which belongs 
to him will ever be again sullied by the unworthy breath 
of suspicion.' 


.1826-29. He gave a Friday evening discourse on Mr. Eobert 
.jEt.34-38. Brown's discovery of active molecules in bodies, either 
organic or inorganic. He ends the notes of this lecture 
thus : — 

' Lastly, the relation of these appearances to known or 
unknown causes. Analogy to other moving particles. 
Camphor. Supposed facUity of explanation, not cam- 
phor motion. Takes place within pollen. Under water, 
enclosed by mica or oil — not crystalline particles — not 
attraction or repulsion. Does not consist in receding 
and approaching — not evaporation answered as before 
— not currents too minute — oscillation — consider cur- 
rent in a drop — when currents, motion very different — 
not electricity of ordinary kind, because do not come to 
rest, seen after hom's — so that the cause is at present 

' Mr. Brown, supposed to be careless and bold, is used 
to microscopical investigations — has not yet been cor- 
rected — assisted by Dr. Wollaston — so that carelessness 
can hardly be charged. Then, what does Mr. Brown 
say ? simply that he cannot account for the motions. 

' Many think Mr. Brown has said things Avhich he has 
not — but that is because the subject connects itself so 
readily with general molecular philosophy that all think 
he must have meant this or that — as to molecules, by no 
means understand ultimate atoms — as to size, says that 
solid matter has a tendency to divide into particles about 
that size — pulverisation and precipitation — if smaller, 
which may be, are very difficult to see — does not say that 
all particles are alike in their nature, but simply that 
organic and inorganic particles having motion, motion 
cannot be considered as distinctive of vitahty — connec- 
tion with atomic or molecular philosophy.' 


He gave five other Friday discourses : on Brard's test 1826-29. 
of the action of weather on building stones ; on Wheat- .iET.34-38, 
stone's further investigations on the resonances of reci- 
procal vibrations of volumes of air ; on Brunei's block 
machinery at Portsmouth ; on the phonical or nodal 
figures at vibrating surfaces ; on the manufacture of 
glass for optical purposes. 

At Christmas he gave a course of juvenile lectures on 
electricity. His notes begin thus : — 

' An extraordinary power that I have to explain ; not 
fear boldly entering into its consideration, because I 
think it ought to be understood by children — not 
minutely, but so as to think reasonably about it, and 
such effects as children can produce, or observe to take 
place in nature — simple instances of its power.' 

He wrote down eighty experiments for this first lee 


The increase of his reputation during 1826, 1827, 
1828, and 1829 is seen in his titles and in the appoint- 
ments offered to him. 

In 1826 he was made an honorary member of the 
Westminster Medical Society, and the managers of the 
Eoyal Institution ' relieved him from his duty as 
chemical assistant at the lectures because of his oc- 
cupation in research.' 

In 1827 he was made correspondent of the Societe 
Philomathique, Paris. 

In 1827 he was offered the Professorship of Chemistry 
in the new University of London, which then consisted 


1826-29. only of University College. The letter to Dr. Lardner 
^T.34-38. in which he decUnes the appointment shows his great 
attachment to the Eoyal Institution. 


' Royal Institution : October 6, 1827. 

' My dear Sir, — My absence from town for a few days 
has prevented your letter from receiving an answer so 
soon as it ought to have done ; and to compensate for 
the delay I should have called upon you yesterday 
evening, but that I prefer writing in the present case, 
that my reasons for the conclusion at which I have 
arrived may be clearly stated and understood. 

' Tou will remember, from the conversation which 
we have had together, that I think it a matter of duty 
and gratitude on my part to do what I can for the 
good of the Eoyal Institution in the present attempt 
to establish it firmly. The Institution has been a 
source of knowledge and pleasure to me for the last 
fourteen years, and though it does not pay me in 
salary for what I now strive to do for it, yet I possess 
the kind feelings and good-will of its authorities and 
members, and aU the privileges it can grant or I re- 
quire ; and, moreover, I remember the protection it has 
afforded me during the past years of my scientific life. 
These circumstances, with the thorough conviction 
that it is a useful and valuable establishment, and the 
strong hopes that exertions will be followed with suc- 
cess, have decided me in giving at least two years 
more to it, in the belief that after that time it will 
proceed well, into whatever hands it may pass. It was 
in reference to this latter opinion, and fully conscious 
of the great opportunity afibrded by the London Uni- 


versity of establishing a valuable school of chemistry 182G-29. 
and a good name, that I have said to you and Mr. -iET.34-38^ 
Millington, that if things altogether had been two years 
advanced, or that the University had to be founded two 
years hence, I should probably have eagerly accepted 
the opportunity. As it is, however, I cannot look 
forward two years and settle what shall happen then. 
Upon general principles only I should decline making 
an engagement so long in advance, not knowing what 
might in the meantime occur; and as it is, the necessity 
of remaining free is still more strongly urged upon me. 
Two years may bring the Eoyal Institution into such a 
state as to make me still more anxious to give a third 
to it. It may just want the last and most vigorous 
exertions of all its friends to confirm its prosperity, 
and I should be sorry not to lend my assistance with 
that of others to the work. I have already (and to a 
great extent for the sake of the Institution) pledged 
myself to a very laborious and expensive series of 
experiments on glass, which will probably require that 
time, if not more, for their completion ; and other 
views are faintly opening before us. Thus you will 
see, that I cannot with propriety accede to your kind 

' I cannot close this letter without adverting to the 
honour which has been done me by my friends, and I 
may add by the Council of the University, in their 
offering me the chemical chair in so handsome and 
unhmited a manner ; and, if it can be done with pro- 
priety, I wish you to express my strong sentiments on 
this point to those who have thought of me in this 
matter. It is not the compliment and public distinc- 
tion (for the matter is a private one altogether), but 


1826-29; the higli praise and approbation which such an un- 
^T.34-38. hmited mark of their confidence conveys, and which, 
coming to me from such a body of men, is more 
valuable than an infinity of ordinary pubhc notice. 
If you can express for me my thankfulness for such 
kind approbation, and the regret which I feel for being 
obliged by circumstances to make so poor a return for 
their notice, I shall be much obhged to you. 

' You will remember that I have never considered 
this affair except upon general views, for I felt that 
unless these sanctioned my acceptance of the Professor- 
ship, it would be useless to inquire after such par- 
ticulars as salary, privileges, &c. I make this remark 
now, that you may not suppose these have been con- 
sidered and approved of, supposing other things had 
been favourable. I have never inquired into them, 
but from general conversation have no doubt they 
would have proved highly satisfactory. 
' I am, my dear Sir, yours very truly, 

' M. Faeaday.' 

In 1828 he was made a Fellow of the Society of 
Natural Science of Heidelberg. 

He was invited to attend the meetings of the Board 
of Managers of the Institution. 

And he received his first medal, which was founded 
by Mr. Fuller, a member of the Eoyal Institution. 

In 1829 he was made a member of the Scientific 
Advising Committee of the Admiralty ; patron of the 
Library of the Institution ; honorary member of the 
Society of Arts, Scotland. 

lu 1829 he was asked to become lecturer at the 
Eoyal Academy, Woolwich. His letter to Colonel 


Drummond, iu which he accepts the appointment, is 182C-29. 
also very characteristic. ^t.34-38. 


'Boyal iDstitution: June 29, 1829. 

' Sir, — In reply to your letter of the 26th, and as a 
result of our conversation on Saturday, I beg to state 
that I should be happy to undertake the duty of 
lecturing on chemistry to the gentlemen cadets of 
Woolwich, provided that the time I should have to 
take for that purpose from professional business at 
home were remunerated by the salary. 

' But on this point I hardly know what to say in 
answer to your inquiry, because of my ignorance of 
the conveniences and assistance I should find at 
Woolwich. For the lectures which I deUver in this 
Institution, where I have the advantage of being upon 
the spot, of possessing a perfect laboratory with an 
assistant in constant occupation, and of having the 
command of an instrument maker and his men, I 
receive, independent of my salary as an officer of the 
estabhshment, 8^. 155. per lecture. The only lectures 
I have given out of this house were a course at the 
London Institution, for which, with the same con- 
veniences as to laboratory and assistance, I was paid 
at the same rate. Since then I have constantly de- 
clined lecturing out of the Eoyal Institution because 
of my engagements. 

I explained to you on Saturday the difficulty of 
compressing the subject of chemistry into a course of 
twenty lectures only, and yet to make it clear, com- 
plete, and practically useful ; and without I thought I 
could do this, I should not be inclined to undertake the 


1826-^29. charge you propose to me. Now twenty lectures, at 
^T.34-3S. the terms I have in this house, amoimt to 175Z. per 
annum, and therefore 1 should not be inclined to accept 
any offer under that ; the more especially as, if I found 
that the times and hours of the students allowed it, I 
should probably extend the course by a lecture or two, 
or more, that I might do the subject greater justice. 

' Notwithstanding what I have said, I still feel the 
difficulty of estimating labour, the extent of which I 
am ignorant of. 

' Were the lectures of that class which do not require 
to be accompanied by experiment, or were the neces- 
sary experiments and illustrations of such a nature that 
(as in mechanics) the preparations, once made, are 
complete and ready when wanted for future courses, I 
should not feel the difficulty. But in many parts of 
chemistry, and especially in the chemistry of the gases, 
the substances under consideration cannot be preserved 
from one course to another, but have to be formed at 
the time ; and hence, if the illustrations are to be clear 
and numerous, a degree of preparatory labour, which 
has to be repeated on every occasion. 

' For these reasons I wish you would originate the 
terms rather than I. If you could make the offer of 
200Z. a year, I would undertake them ; and then, sup- 
posing I found more work than I expected, I should 
not have to blame myself for stating an undervalue for 
my own exertions. I have no thought that the sum 
would overpay, because, from my experience for some 
years in a chemical school founded in the laboratory 
of the Eoyal Institution, I have no doubt that the pro- 
portion of instruction to the students would expand 
rather than contract. 


'Allow me, before I close this letter, to thank you 1826-29 
and the other gentlemen who may be concerned in ^t.34-38. 
this appointment, for the good opinion which has in- 
duced you to propose it to me. I consider the offer 
as a high honour, and beg you to feel assured of my 
sense of it. I should have been glad to have accepted 
or declined it, independent of pecuniary motives ; but 
my time is my only estate, and that which would be 
occupied in the duty of the situation must be taken 
from what otherwise would be given to professional 

' I am. Sir, your most obedient servant, 

' M. Faraday.' 


The correspondence that remains of these four years 
consists only of two letters. 

They were both written on the same day — one to his 
brother-in-law, who was at that time much depressed, 
and the other to his friend Magrath. 

The contrast of the tone of these letters is striking, 
but both show the kind feeling that was in him. 


' Niton : July 23, 1826. 

' My dear Edward, — I intended to have written you 
a letter immediately upon the receipt of yours, but 
delayed it, and perhaps shall not now say what oc- 
curred to me then. Why do you write so dully ? Your 
cogitations, your poetry, and everything about your 
letter, except the thirty pounds, has a melancholy feel. 
Perhaps things you had scarcely anticipated are gather- 

VOL. I. B B 


1826-29 . ing about you, and may a little influence your spirits ; 

.iET.34-38. and I shall think it is so for the present, and trust it is 
of but little importance, for I can hardly imagine it 
possible that you are taken unawares in the general 
picture of life which you have represented to yourself : 
your natural reflection and good sense would teach you 
that life must be chequered, long before you would 
have occasion to experience it. However, I shall hope 
this will find you in good spirits, and laughing at such 
thoughts as those in which you were immersed when 
you wrote me. I have been watching the clouds on 
these hills for many evenings back : they gather when 
I do not expect them ; they dissolve when, to the best 
of my judgment, they ought to remain ; they throw 
down rain to my mere inconvenience, but doing good 
to all around ; and they break up and present me with 
delightful and refreshing views when I expect only a 
duU walk. However strong and certain the appear- 
ances are to me, if I venture an internal judgment, I 
am always wrong in something ; and the only con- 
clusion that I can come to is, that the end is as bene- 
ficial as the ineans of its attainment are beautiful. So 
it is in life ; and though I pretend not to have been 
much involved in the fogs, mists, and clouds of mis- 
fortune, yet I have seen enough to know that many 
things usually designated as troubles are merely so 
from our own particular view of them, or else ulti- 
mately -resolve themselves into blessings. Do not 
imagine that I cannot feel for the distresses of others, 
or that I am entirely ignorant of those which seem to 
threaten friends for whom both you and I are much 
concerned. I do feel for those who are oppressed 
either by real or imaginary evils, and I know the one 


to be as heavy as the other. But I think I derive a 1826-29. 
certain degree of steadiness and placidity amongst such .St.34-38. 
feehngs by a point of mental conviction, for which I 
take no credit as a piece of knowledge or philosophy, 
and which has often been blamed as mere apathy. 
Whether apathy or not, it leaves the mind ready and 
willing to do all that can be useful, whilst it reheves it 
a httlefrom the distress dependent upon viewing things 
in their worst state. The point is this : in all kinds of 
knowledge I perceive that my views are insufficient, 
and my judgment imperfect. In experiments I come 
to conclusions which, if partly right, are sure to be in 
part wrong ; if I correct by other experiments, I ad- 
vance a step, my old error is in part diminished, but is 
always left with a tinge of humanity, evidenced by its 
imperfection. The same happens in judging of the mo- 
tives of others ; though in favourable cases I may see 
a good deal, I never see the whole. In affairs of life 
'tis the same thing ; my views of a thing at a distance 
and close at hand never correspond, and the way out 
of a trouble which I desire is never that which really 
opens before me. Now, when in all these, and in all 
kinds of knowledge and experience, the course is still 
the same, ever imperfect to us, but terminating in good, 
and when all events are evidently at the disposal of a 
Power which is conferring benefits continually upon us, 
which, though given by means and in ways we do not 
comprehend, may always well claim our acknowledg- 
ment at last, may we not be induced to suspend our 
dull spirits and thoughts when things look cloudy, and, 
providing as well as we can against the shower, actually 
cheer our spirits by thoughts of the good things it will 
bring with it : and will not the experience of our past 


] 826-29. lives convince us that in doing this we are far more 

^T.34-38. likely to be right than wrong. 

'Your third page I can hardly understand. You 
quote Shakespeare ; the quotation may be answered a 
thousand times over from a book just as full of poetry, 
which you may find on your shelf. The uses of the 
world can never be unprofitable to a reflecting mind, 
even without the book I refer to ; and I am sure can 
only appear so to you for a few hours together. But 
enough of this ; only, when I get home again, I must 
have a talk with you. 

' Believe me, my dear Edward, your affectionate 


'M. Fakaday.' 


'Niton: July 23, 1826. 

'I am amused and a little offended at 's hypocrisy. 

He knows well enough that to the world an hour's 
existence of our Institution is worth a year's of the 

, and that though it were destroyed, still the 

remembrance of it would live for years to come, in 
places where the one he lives at has never been heard 
of. Unless he comes with perfect good will and feeling 
in every part of the way, I do not think I at least shall 
meet him ; for that nonsense of his, though it may 
amuse once or twice or thrice, becomes ridiculous if it 
is to be thrown into every affair of life, both common 
and serious, and would probably be in our way. I 
think it Avould not be a bad joke to touch him up 
behind, and say one can't imagine how it is that he is 
only assistant librarian at such an unknown institution 


as the , and that one can't help but unagine 1826-29. 

there must be some cause or other, or he would be iET.34-38.. 
aiming at a higher character in the house, or would 
endeavour to get into a more public place, &c. I think 
I could make the man wince if I were inclined, and 
yet all in mere chat over a cup of tea. But this is all 
nonsense, which, however, he brings to mind by the 
corresponding nonsense of his own affectation. 

' Now Hennel is a plain, common-sense man, without 
any particular varnish over his conduct and manners, 
and when he speaks one knows what he means. I feel 
much, therefore, for his disappointment, and think it 
altogether an unwise thing in some to be so neglectful 
of his desires and feelings as in this case they have 
been. Why should not we philosophers tempt recruits 
by every honourable means? And when Hennel had 
so worthily earned the reward of pleasurable feelings, 
why should they not be gratified when it might have 
been done with so little trouble? It annoys me as much, 
I think, as it will Hennel himself, for I felt a great 
anxiety to see a copy of his first paper to the Eoyal 

' I am, dear Magrath, very truly yours, 

' M. Faraday.' 

In 1830 the higher scientific education of Faraday 
was nearly ended. The records of this year show but 
little of his work, of his reputation, or of his character. 


With regard to his work, his Bakerian lecture on glass 
was published in the ' Philosophical Transactions.' 

He had no lectures to give after Easter at the Eoyal 



. /-^^Q- . His Friday evening discourses were on Aldini's pro- 
iET.38-39. posed method of preserving men exposed to flame ; 
on the transmission of musical sounds through solid 
conductors and their subsequent reciprocation ; on the 
flowing of sand under pressure ; on the measurement 
of a base in Ireland for the geodetical survey ; on the 
application of a new principle in the construction of 
musical instruments ; on the laws of coexisting vibra- 
tions in strings and rods, illustrated by the kaleido- 


The reputation which he was gaining abroad is seen 
in two letters which he received from members of the 
French Academy, M. Hachette and M. Ampere. The 
former gives Mr. Faraday an account of the Eevolution 
of 1830, and his opinion of the influence of science, in 
words which must have sounded very exaggerated to 
one who throughout his life took only the slightest 
interest in politics. 


' Paris : 22 aont 1830. 

' Monsieur, — Vous avez probablement re9u un petit 
m^moire sur des experiences hydrauliques que je vous 
ai envoye le 17 juillet passe, en mSme temps que je 
re9us voire memoire sur le verre ; un autre memoire de 
M. Davies Gilbert s'y trouvait joint. J'ai traduit ce 
dernier memoire, et la traduction sera publiee dans le 
bulletin de la Societe d'Encouragement, cahier de juillet. 
J'ai ajoute quelques notes k cette traduction, qui, j'espere, 
seront accueillies par M. Davies Gilbert. 

'J'esperais pouvoir vous envoyer avec cette lettre 


quelques exemplaires de mes notes pr^cedees du 1830. 
memoire, mais I'imprimeur du bulletin ne me les a -iET.38-39. 
pas encore renvoyees. 

' Je profiterais de la premiere occasion pour me 
rappeler k votre souvenir et k celui de M. Davies Gilbert, 
qui a bien voulu me gratifier d'un exemplaire de son 
memoire sur les machines k vapeur du Cornwall. 

' Parmi les evenements qui ont signale les journees 
des 27, 28 et 29 juillet, vous aurez remarque I'influence 
des sciences sur la population Parisienne. Des jeunes 
gens de I'ige moyen, 19 ans, formant I'Ecole polytech- 
nique, habitent un ancien college place aux extremit^s 
de Paris : Ik ils etudient tranquillement les ouvrages 
de Lacroix, de Poissons, de Monge, etc. ; 1' analyse 
mathematique, la physique et la chimie enrichie de vos 
decouvertes sont leur unique occupation. Un detache- 
ment arme se presente k eux et les invite k marcher avec 
lui pour la defense de la charte violee. Cette jeunesse 
humble, modeste, sans armes, revetue de I'uniforme qui 
rappelle la defense de Paris en 1814, sort du college, 
et k I'instant que chaque groupe arrive elle proclame un 
eleve polytechnique son commandant. Elle serait invin- 
cible, puisque la science et I'honneur la precedent ; elle 
marche avec confiance, parce qu'elle a I'assentiment de 
tout ce que porte un coeur genereux. Les principes 
mathematiques (principia mathematica) et les principes 
de gouvernement se donnent done la main ; les deux 
premieres nations du monde se rapprochent. Puisse la 
raison triompher de tons les prejuges qui s'opposent au 
perfectionnement des societes ! 

' En France, le savant, I'artiste, I'ouvrier sent toute la 
dignite de sa position sociale ; chacun ajoute un peu de 
bien au bien qui existe ; la plus petite decouverte 


1830. (Jans les sciences est un bienfait pour Thumanite ; les 
■Mt.38-39. grandes decouvertes sont pour notre siecle les actions 
heroiques. En vous exprimant mon opinion sur I'in- 
fluence des sciences, j'eprouve un sentiment bien vif 
d'estime et de reconnaissance pour vous et vos compa- 
triotes qui consacrez votre vie entiere aux recherches 

' J'ai I'honneur d'etre bien affectueusement, Monsieur, 
votre d^voue serviteur, 

' Hachette.' 

m. ampere to faraday. 

'Paris: 13 octobre 1830. 

' Monsieur et clier confrere, — II y a bien longtemps 
que je devrais vous ecrire : j'attendais d'avoir quelque 
chose de nouveau a vous ofFrir. Mais quoique je n'ai 
rien d'achev^ dans ce moment je profite du voyage que 
va faire k Londres notre excellent ami Monsieur Unter- 
wood pour vous rappeler les sentiments de la plus 
sincere amitie et de la reconnaissance que, comme 
devoue aux sciences, j'eprouve pour I'auteur de tant de 
travaux qui ont agrandi et illustre sa carriere. 

' La cWmie et la physique vous doivent des resultats 
qui en font la gloire, et je vous dois personnellement 
au sujet des belles experiences sur les phenomenes de 
revolution et de rotation des aimants, qui sont venues 
justifier les recherches sur la cause que j 'avals assignee 
aux phenomenes de ce genre. J'ai ecrit un memoire 
ou j'ai developpe avec beaucoup de detail tout ce qui est 
relatif ; je vous prie d'en accepter un exemplaire, que 
Monsieur Unterwood veut bien se charger de vous 


' C'est chez lui que je vous ecris tout k la h^te, car il 1*^30. 
part demain pour Londres. jEt.38-39. 

' Je vous prie d'agreer mes hommages et mes voeux 
pour que vous continuiez, dans I'interet des sciences, 
d'aj outer toujours k vos belles decouvertes de nouvelles 
recherches dont les resultats leur fassent faire encore de 
nouveaux progres. 

'J'ai I'honneur d'etre, Monsieur et cher confrere, 
votre tres-humble et tres-obeissant serviteur, 

' A. Ampeke.' 


His brother-in-law, who then was much with him, 
and his niece, who formed one of the family at the 
Institution for nineteen years, have preserved some 
recollections of the period during which Faraday's 
higher scientific education went on. 

Mr. George Barnard, the artist, says : — 

' All the years I was with Harding I dined at the 
Eoyal Institution. After dinner we nearly always had 
our games just like boys — sometimes at ball, or with 
horse chestnuts instead of marbles — Faraday appearing 
to enjoy them as much as I did, and generally excelling 
us all. Sometimes we rode round the theatre on a 
velocipede, which was then a new thing,^ 

' At this time we had very pleasant conversaziones of 
artists, actors, and musicians at HuUmandel's, sometimes 
going up the river in his eight-oar cutter, cooking our 
own dinner, enjoying the singing of Garcia and his 
wife and daughter (afterwards Malibran) — indeed, of 
all the best Italian singers, and the society of most of 

^ Tradition remains that in the earliest part of a summer morning 
Faraday has heen seen going up Hampstead Hill on his velocipede. 



1830. the Eoyal Academicians, such as Stanfield, Turner, 
^T.38-39. Westall, Landseer, &c 

' My first and many following sketching trips were 
made with Faraday and his wife. Storms excited his 
admiration at all times, and he was never tired of 
looking into the heavens. He said to me once, " I 
wonder you artists don't study the hght and colour in 
the sky more, and try more for eflFect." I think this 
quality in Turner's drawings made him admire thera 
so much. He made Turner's acquaintance at HuU- 
mandel's, and afterwards often had applications from 
him for chemical information about pigments. Faraday 
always impressed upon Turner and other artists the 
great necessity there was to experiment for themselves, 
putting washes and tints of all their pigments in the 
bright sunlight, covering up one half, and noticing the 
effect of light and gases on the other 

' Faraday did not fish at all during these country 
trips, but just rambled about geologising or bota- 

Miss Eeid, Mrs. Faraday's niece, writes thus : — 

' About 1823, when my uncle was studying elocution 
under Smart, he took great trouble to teach me, a 
little girl of seven, to read with good emphasis, and I 
well remember how unweariedly he would go over 
and over one sentence, and make me repeat it with the 
upward and downward inflections, till he was satisfied ; 
and then perhaps would follow a good romp, which 
pleased the little girl much better than elocution. 

'After I went, in 1826, to stay at the Eoyal Insti- 
tution, when my aunt was going out (as I was too little 
to be left alone), she would occasionally take me down 


to the laboratory, and leave me under my uncle's eye, 1830. 
-whilst he was busy preparing his lectures. I had of ^t.38-39. 
course to sit as still as a mouse, with my needlework ; 
but he would often stop and give me a kind word or 
a nod, or sometimes throw a bit of potassium into 
water to amuse me. 

' In all my childish troubles, he was my never-failing 
comforter, and seldom too busy, if I stole into his room, 
to spare me a few minutes ; and when perhaps I was 
naughty and rebellious, how gently and kindly he 
would win me round, telling me what he used to feel 
himself when he was young, advising me to submit to 
the reproof I was fighting against. 

' I remember his saying that he found it a good and 
useful rule to listen to all corrections quietly, even if 
he did not see reason to agree with them. 

' If I had a difficult lesson, a word or two from him 
would clear away all my trouble ; and many a long 
wearisome sum in arithmetic became quite a delight 
when he undertook to explain it. 

' I have a vivid recollection of a month spent at 
Walmer with my aunt and uncle. How I rejoiced to 
be allowed to go there with him ! We went on the 
outside of the coach, in his favourite seat behind the 
driver. When we reached Shooter's Hill, he was full 
of fun about Falstafif and the men in buckram, and not 
a sight nor a sound of interest escaped his quick eye 
and ear. At Walmer we had a cottage in a field, and 
my uncle was delighted because a window looked 
directly into a blackbirds' nest built in a cherry-tree. 
He would go many times in a day to watch the 
parent birds feeding their young, I remember, too, 
how much he was interested in the young lambs, after 


, ^^^Q- they were sheared at our door, vainly trying to find 
^T.38-39. their own mothers. The ewes, not knowing their 
shorn lambs, did not make the customary signal. 

' In those days I was eager to see the sun rise, and 
my uncle desired me always to call him when I was 
awake. So, as soon as the glow brightened over Peg- 
well Bay, I stole down stairs and tapped at his door, 
and he would rise, and a great treat it was to watch 
the glorious sight with him. How delightful, too, to 
be his companion at sunset ! Once I remember well 
how we watched the fading light from a hill clothed 
with wild flowers, and how, as twiUght stole on, the 
sounds of bells from Upper Deal broke upon our ears, 
and how he watched until all was grey. At such 
times he would be well pleased if we could repeat a 
few lines descriptive of his feelings. 

' He carried " Galpin's Botany " in his pocket, and 
used to make me examine any flower new to me as we 
rested in the fields. The first we got at Walmer was 
the Echiuni vulgare, and is always associated in my 
mind with his lesson. For when we met with it a 
second time he asked, " What is the name of that 
flower ? " " Viper's Bugloss," said I. " No, no, I 
must have the Latin name," said he. 

' One evening a thick white mist rose and completely 
hid everything before us. About ten o'clock my uncle 
called me into his room to see a spectre. He placed 
the candle behind us as we stood at the window, and 
there, opposite to us, appeared two gigantic shadowy 
beings who imitated every movement that we made. 

' One of the first things to be done when he settled 
in the country was to set up a standing desk. It was 
made by putting the travelHng boxes on a table. This 


was placed close to the window which was generally 1830. ^ 
open, and the telescope was set up. There he wrote, but, ^t.38-39. 
however busy, nothing on sea or land escaped his eye. 
As he had gone to Walmer for rest and refreshment, I, 
the young one of the party, had to inveigle him away 
from his books whenever I could. Sometimes I was 
allowed to go to read with him, and my grandfather, 
who was staying with us, used to say, " What sort of 
reading lessons are those going on upstairs ? I hear 
' ha ! ha ! ' more than any other sound." 

' One day he went far out among the rocks, and 
brought home a great many wonderful things to show 
me ; for in those days I had never seen nor even heard 
of hermit crabs and sea anemones. My uncle seemed 
to watch them with as much dehght as I did ; and how 
heartily he would laugh at some of the movements of 
the crabs ! "We went one night to look for glowworms. 
We searched every bank and hkely place near, but not 
one did we see. On coming home to our cottage he 
espied a tiny speck of light on one of the doorposts. 
It came from a small centipede ; but though it was 
put carefully under a glass, it never showed its light 

'My uncle read aloud delightfully. Sometimes he 
gave us one of Shakespeare's plays or Scott's novels. 
But of all things I used to like to hear him read 
"Childe Harold;" and never shall I forget the way 
in which he read the description of the storm on 
Lake Leman. He took great pleasure in Byron, and 
Coleridge's " Hymn to Mont Blanc " delighted him. 
When anything touched his feelings as he read — and it 
happened not unfrequently — he would show it not only 
in his voice, but by tears in his eyes also. Nothing vexed 


1830- him more than any kind of subterfuge or prevarication, 
.s;t.38-39. or glossing over things. 

' Once I told him of a professor, previously of high 
repute, who had been found abstracting some manu- 
script from a library. He instantly said, " What do you 
mean by abstracting ? You should say steahng ; use the 
right word, my dear." 

' If he gave me my choice in anything, he could not 
bear indecision, and I had not only to decide, but to 
decide quickly. He thought that in trifles quickness 
of decision was important, and a bad decision was better 
than none. 

' When my uncle left his study and came into the 
sitting-room, he would enter into all the nonsense that 
was going on as heartily as anyone, and as we sat 
round the fire he would often play some childish game, 
at which he was usually the best performer ; or he 
would take a part in a charade, and I well recollect his 
beiog dressed up to act the villain, and very fierce he 
looked. Another time I recollect him as the learned pig. 

' In times of grief or distress his sympathy was 
always quick, and no scientific occupation ever pre- 
vented him from sharing personally in all our sorrows 
and comforting us in every way in his power. Time, 
thoughts, purse, everything was freely given to those 
who had need of them.' 

Some other reminiscences of his hfe about this time 
may also be here mentioned. 

'He always required much sleep — usually eight hours. 

' At one period he had to make so many commercial 
analyses of nitre for Mr. Brande, after preparing his 
lecture, that it was very late before he could turn 


to his own researches. More or less, he never was 1830. 
without some original investigation, and he would 
remain in the laboratory at work until near eleven at 
night, then he went to bed. 

' He could spare little time for reading, except read- 
ing the journals and books of science, and the " Times " 
and " Athenaeum." Then he always read the Scriptures 
more or less. When he was thoroughly tired and ex- 
hausted, which he often was, he turned to some story or 
novel that had a thread to it (as he said). This he 
found was a great rest. He did not take to biography 
or travels, but he would occasionally run through such 
books. They did not give him the complete relaxation 
he needed when thoroughly tired. 

'He read aloud to his wife and niece, with great 
pleasure to himself and to them ; sometimes he would 
read to them out of Shakespeare or Byron, and later out 
of Macaulay. 

'It has been said that he liked to go to the theatre, 
and it has been concluded that he went very often ; but 
really he went very seldom. He enjoyed a play most 
when he was tired, and when Mrs. Faraday could go 
with him. They walked to the theatre, and went to 
the pit, and it was the greatest rest to him. Sometimes, 
when she had a friend staying with her, he would go 
alone to some theatre, at half price. For many seasons 
he had a free admission to the Opera, and that he en- 
joyed very much ; but he went only a very few times 
in the year, three or four. He was very fond of music, 
but he liked it to be good music. Before his marriage 
he played on the flute, and, probably to save expense, 
he copied out much music, which still exists ; and he 
has said that, in early life he knew a hundred songs 


J 830. by heart. After his marriage he had no time for the 
.S:t.38-39. flute.' 

If Faraday's scientific hfe had ended at this time, 
when he finished his higher education, it might well 
have been called a noble success. He had made two 
leading discoveries, the one on electro-magnetic motions, 
the other on the condensation of several gases into 
liquids. He had carried out two important and most 
laborious investigations on the alloys of steel and on 
the manufacture of optical glass. He had discovered - 
two new chlorides of carbon ; among the products of 
the decomposition of oil by heat he had found the 
bicarburet of hydrogen, or benzol ; he had determined 
the combination of sulphuric acid and naphthaline, and 
the formation of a new body, sulpho-naphthalic acid ; 
and he had made the first experiments on the diffusion 
of gases, a subject which has become, by the researches 
of Professor Graham, of the utmost importance. 

According to the catalogue of scientific papers com- 
piled by the Eoyal Society, he had had sixty important 
scientific papers printed, and nine of these were in the 
' Philosophical Transactions.' 

From assistant in the laboratory of the Royal Insti- 
tution, he had become its director. He had constantly 
lectured in the great theatre, and he had probaljly 
saved the Institution by taking the most active part in 
the establishment of the Friday evening meetings. 

But when we turn to the eight volumes of manu- 
scripts of his ' Experimental Researches,' which he 
bequeathed to the Institution, we find that his great 
work was just going to begin. The first of these large 
folio volumes starts in I80I with paragraph 1, and 


goes on, volume after volume, to paragraph 15,997, in 1830. 
1859. The results of this work he has collected him- ^t.38-39. 
self in four volumes octavo. The three volumes on 
electricity were pubhshed in 1839, in 1844, and in 
1855 ; the last volume, on chemistry and physics, 
which contains also the most important of his earher 
papers, was published in 1859. 

Faraday's great work- lasted for a quarter of a century. 
After the first ten years a break took place, caused by 
the strain that he put upon his brain. Giddiness and 
loss of memory stopped his work. These compelled 
the mind to rest comparatively speaking for nearly four 
years. After the rest was ^ taken much more work 
was done. The pictures of these three periods will 
form the subjects of the three next chapters. 


VOL. I. C C 





Professor of 
Natural Philosophy in the Boyal Institution of Great Britain. 

FAEADAY as a DISCOVEEEE. Second and Cheaper Edit. 

with Two Portraits, In One Volume, fcp. 8vo. price 3s, 6d. 

'Peofessor Ttndall's Memoir of Faraday 
as a dfecoverer is written in clear and vigorous 
English. Faraday was a man of the loftiest 
aims, and was probably one of the gi-eatest 
experimental philosophers the world has erer 
had. His character as a man of science, and the 
extent to which science is indebted to him, and 
the nature, method, and the precision of his 
discoveries— all these matters the reader will 
find well told in this volume.* The Lancet. 

'This welcome little volume contains three 
Tportraita— Faraday the Philosopher, Faraday the 
Man, Faraday the Christian. The portraits are 
drawn with a firm and clear hand, in a gentle 
and loving spirit, under the guidance of a deep 
insight. Men of science who clustered round 

Faraday's home In Albemarle Street will be 
pleased that the portrait of theil: distinguished 
chief has been trusted to the hands of one of the 
most eminent among themselves, whom Faraday 
selected as his ^sistant and successor. The 
members of the much wider circle whose lives 
were illuminated by the rays of truth which 
beamed on them from that luminous fane of 
science, where young and old, ignorant and 
skilled, were through so many years equally 
charmed, elevated, and instructed, %vill be grate- 
ful that the character, the labours, and the 
teachings of their master are herein transmitted 
to them by a fellow-pupil who neither in ad- 
miration nor affection falls short of their own. 
They will all give Professor TvNDALL'swork a 
profound welcome,' Macmillah's MA&A2a2ns!, 

On EADIATION" ; the Eede Lecture delivered before the 

University of Cambridge, May 1865. Crown 8vo, with Diagram, price 25, 6d. 

* Few men possess the remarkable faculty of 
making abstruse subjects connected with natural 
philosophy intelligible to ordinary untrained 
minds in the same high degree as the Author of 
this Lecture. It is an admirable exposition of 

the present state of our knowledge as regards 
radiation, and wUl be read with profit by all 
who desire to become acquainted with the sub- 
ject.' Medical Times and Gazbite;. 

HEAT a MODE OP MOTION. Third Edition, with 

Alterations and Additions. Plate and 108 "Woodcuts. Crown 8vo. price 10s, 6d. 

* Beyond question the best and clearest popular 
exposition of the dynamical theory of heat that 
has yet been given to the public.' Spectator. 

* A want had long been felt among engineers 
for a clear and intelligible work on the me- 
chanical theory of heat, and which should at the 
same time give an account of the scope of the 
experiments and numerical data upon which the 
theory is founded. This want is supplied by 
Professor Tykdall's book. The clear style of 

the work adapts it to the most ordinary ca- 
pacities ; and the reader is raised to the level of 
these questions from a basis so elementary that 
a person possessing any imaginative faculty and 
power of concentration can easily follow the 
subject. Popular as Professor Tyndall's ex- 
position is, we are convinced that the most 
accomplished man of science would rise from 
its perusal with an additional amount of infor- 
mation.' Mbchakics' Maoazihe. 

SOUm) ; a course of EIGHT LECTUEES dehvered at the 

Koyal Institution of Great Britain. Second Edition, revised ; with a Portrait of 
M. Chladni, and 169 Woodcut Illustrations. Crown 8vo. price 9s. 

edition, with the exception of a chapter con- 
taining a summary of the recent researches of 
M. Regnault, written by himself. This con- 
tains some interesting observations on the propa- 
gation of sound in closed tubes, in which it ia 
shewn that the diameter of the tube makes a 
considerable difference in the intensity with 
which the wave is propagated through it, dimin- 
ishing rapidly the smaller the section of the 
tube There are other interesting facts de- 
scribed in reference to the velocity of the propa- 
gation of waves, which we have not space to 
give, but which will well repay perusal.' 

The Lamcbt, July 10. 

* The contents of Professor Tykdall's book 
are of so attractive a nature, and recommend 
themselves so strongly, not only to the dilettante 
lover of knowledge, but to those who are 
earnestly engaged in the cultivation of science, 
that we are not surprised a second edition has 
been speedily called for. Having already noticed 
at length, in our review of the first edition, the 
characteristic features of the work, the number 
and ingenuity of the experiments (in which 
Professor Ttndall stands without a rival) , the 
felicitous explanations and varied illustrations, 
we need here make no further remark than to 
say that the present is a reprint of the former 

London : LONGMANS, GEEEN, and CO. Paternoster Row. 


Complete in Fiyd Volumes, 8vo. price £7 3s. or separately, Vois. T. and III. 

price 31s. Qd. each ; Vol. II. price 26s.; Vol. IV. price 24s. 

and Vol. V. price 30s. cloth, 




Assisted by eminent Scientific and Practical Chemists. 

* The greatest work ■which England has 
yet produced on cliemistry, one of the greatest 
indeed which- she has produced npon any scien- 
tific subject, is finished at last, and we are able 
to congratulate Mr. Wattts n20st sincerely upon 
its completion. The first number was issued 
more than five years ago, and though some slight 
delays have lately occurred, the publication has 
been carried on with most commendable regu- 
larity. The general confidence in the learning 
and energy of the Editor, which his previous 
labours had inspired, has been justified in the 
fullest manner, and every chemist will be proud 
to acknowledge the debt of gratitude which he 
owes to him. Yery few, even among the few 
who were fitted for such a task, would have cared 
to undertake it, and no one who had undertaken 
it could possibly have executed it more ably or 
thoroughly,' Chemical Kews. 

* Aided by fifteen coadjutors, many of 
them of high scientific position, Mr. Watts 
has completed most satisfactorily his great un- 
dertaking. It is a cyclopaedia as well as a dic- 
tionary of chemistry. It contains explauations 
of terms ; it is also a collection of treatises on 
the various branches of the Science. Without 
specially reviewing this Dictionary, we may 
here record our high opinion of its value. We 
may justly say that it worthily occupies an 
important place, hitherto unfilled amongst books 
of reference. It is less diffuse and less historical 
than Gmeun's great work, but at the same time 
it includes many subjects connected with applied 
chemistry not touched upon in the bulky treatise 
of the German master. Again it is written in the 
spirit of the new chemical philosophy, and its 
Editor and Contributors, appreciating the latest 
progrcssof the Science, have not besitited to change 
their notation, once at least, during the progress of 
the work. Apart from its fulness as a Diotiohary, 
wherein explanations of names and terms, with 
analyses and references, will befound, we are struck 
by its completeness as a Series of Essays orarticles 
on Analysis, Atomic Weights, Volumetric Analysis, 
Sulphur, Acids and Salts, Arsenic, Quinine, Salina, 
Urine and its Analysis, Respiration, Bread, and a 
thousand and one other matters where chemistry Is 
intimately bound up with arts, or the processes of 
common life/ Mbdico-Chieitegical Review. 

' "We notify the conclusion of the splen- 
did work upon which Mr. Henhy Watts, F.E.S. 
has been so long engaged. The fifth and last 
volume of the Dictionai^y of Cheniistj-y has been 
completed, and we can now form an adequate 
conception of the vast extent of the region of fact 
and theory that has been so minutely surveyed 
by the industrious and learned editor. The com- 
plete work comprises more than five thousand 
large pages of closely-printed matter, and has been 
wel described by a contemporary as a truly mag- 
nificent work, almost Gferman in the cyolopffidic 

comprehensiveness of its science, and 
thoroughly English in its practical usefulness. 
Between the first and last articles, Ahidiite and 
Zymurgy, every chemical substance now known is 
d^cribed, generally with great fulness, and always 
with ample reference to the original sourcesof in- 
formation. Mineralogy, crystallography, and all 
those branches of physics which are connected 
with chemistry, come within the scope of the 
work. Though the editor has written th e greater 
part of the dictionary, he has enjoyed c-^e assist- 
ance of twenty-one eminent scientific m-n, who 
have contributed articles of great interest and 
utility. The essays on subjects connected with 
chemical theoi-y by Dr. Odung and Prof. .&. 0. 
Foster ; the articles on the practical applica- 
tions of chemistry by Dr. Paul ; those on sub- 
jects connected with physiology by Dr. Michael 
Poster ; and the various contributions by Dr. 
Peankland, Dr. Wiujamson, Dr. Hofmann', 
and other great chemists, on subjects which they 
have made their own, have greatly enriched the 
work. We sincerely hope that the success of this 
incomparable scientific production may be com- 
mensurate with the expectations of the pub- 
lishers.' Chemist and Druggist. 

* Modern chemistry is most fully, in- 
deed most elaborately, displayed in these volumes. 
The student of this useful science, which advances 
our knowledge of Nature by shewing us many of 
the transmutations of matter, until it becomes 
excited with the ever mysterious energy, Life, 
cannot find another book so full of information 
as this one upon all that belongs to chemical 
philosophy. The manufacturer wlio desires to 
avail himself of the facts which this science has 
established, and thus to improve his special in- 
dustry, cannot go to a purer source of informa- 
tion than this. Technical teaching is just now 
engaging serious attention. Technology neces- 
sarily, therefore, forms an important portion of 
any book devoted to chemistry, which is so es- 
pecially a science for practical application. Mr. 
Waits and the high-class Contributors by whom 
he has been assisted have not forgotten this ; 
therefore, applied chemistiy in all its branches 
has received most satisfactory treatment at their 
hands. That select division of the public who 
are desirous of obtaining as much information as 
possible respecting the advances of human know- 
ledge by the labours of experimental philosophers, 
cannot refer to any work of more completeness 
than this in all that belongs to chemistry and 
the allied branches of other sciences. These 
volumes show how vast are the accumulations of 
faxjts in the division of Organic Chemistry, what 
a rich store of material has been gathered to- 
gether, and how prfect are many of the parts 
which now exist in fragmentai'y beauty.* 
Athene CM. 

London : LONGMANS, GREEN, and CO. Paternoster Row. 

39 Paternoster Row, E.G. 
London, March 1870. 



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■ Insects Abroad 21 

Out of Doors 22 

Strange Dwelhngs 21 

(J. T.) Ephesus 33 

Wyait's History of Prussia 3 

Yongc's English-Greek Lexicons 16 

Horace 37 

Youatt on the Dog 38 

on the Horse 38 

ZelUr's Plato 6 

Socrates 5 

Stoics, Epicureans, and Sceptics... 5 

Zimmcrn' s Life of Schopenhauer 7